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A scriptural 
view of the 
office of the 
Holy Spirit 

Robert Richardson 

Digitized by Google 

Digitized by Google 

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Digitized by Google 



Office of the Holy Spirit. 

** For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the 
Holy Spirit, and in much assurance." — i Thess. i, 5. 

" Not to avow the Holy Spirit in his work, is to be ashamed of the gospel, and 
of the promise of Christ, as if it were not to be owned in the world." — Dk. Jno. 


1 875. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by 
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 





Digitized by 

'RT't 142118 


It is the design of the following treatise to present the teaching of 
Scripture, in reference to the work of the Holy Spirit, in the salva- 
tion of men. It is not its • purpose to enter minutely into all the 
questions connected with this important subject, but, while considering 
such of these as have an immediate practical relation to the present 
wants of religious society, to give a clear and distinct view of the 
entire office of the Holy Spirit, as this relates both to the Church and 
to the World. Conscious of no bias in favor of any particular theoiy, 
the author bespeaks, for the views he has to present, a fair exami- 
nation in a candid and truth-loving spirit, and in the light of the 
Scriptures to which reference is made, taken in their proper con- 
nection and meaning. 

The author has for many years contemplated, with much regret, 
the extremes into which men have fallen in relation to the subject 
of the Holy Spirit, nor has he failed to use his endeavors to correct 
these — especially those of them which rest on rationalism, a form 
of error to which certain religious reformers, who profess to take 
the " Bible alone," seem to be peculiarly liable. Such are the 
infirmities of human nature, that a mere maxim, a denominational 
watch-word, a party-phrase, will sometimes so occupy the mind as 
to leave no room for the entire truth of which it is itself but a frag- 
ment, and the partial and imperfect conceptions thence resulting will 
lead inevitably to the most serious mistakes, both theoretical and 
practical. It would be impossible to estimate, for instance, the injury 
that has been done to religious society by the constant reiteration of 
the unscriptural expression, "Justification by faith alone," which has 
led men to contemn not only the works of the Jewish law, but the 
ordinances of the Gospel itself, and the very obedience which faith 
itself requires in order to its own perfecting. Nor can it be deter- 
mined how much of evil has, in like manner, proceeded from the brief 
but equally unscriptural phrase, "The Bible alone," employed in a 
sense and for a purpose altogether alien to its true significance, and 
its original application. And yet how true are both these utterances ! 
How precious the truth that we are "justified by faith alone" when 
we refer only to the principle or ground of justification ! How 




credible the famous saying that " the Bible, the Bible only, is 
the religion of Protestants, " when understood, as first employed, to 
signify that "the Bible is a perfect rule of their faith and actions."* 
How readily, however, the former truth may be transformed into an 
error when "faith" is resolved into an abstraction, and set in oppo- 
sition to its own works, as if by these it was vitiated and annulled ! 
How marked the potency of this extreme over even the mind of 
Luther, when he was led to call in question the genuineness of the 
epistle of James, because, in contradiction of the above assertion, 
it said that "by works a man is justified and not by faith only! " 
And how false the declaration that " the Bible only is the religion 
of Protestants," if this be made to mean that the book so termed, or 
even the professed acceptance of the truth of its teachings, constitutes, 
in point of fact, the religion of the Protestant world! Yet how many 
there may be who mistake a reverence for the things of religion for 
religion itself! How many who may amuse themselves with the 
idea that in possessing the word of truth, they possess also the truth ! 
How many professed reformers may there be to whom the Gospel 
has truly come " in word only," and who seem unable to make 
their way out of the cocoon of formalism, which enwraps them and 
their religion in perpetual immaturity ! 

A true religious Reformation, however, will restore Christianity not 
only in letter but in spirit ; not only in principle but in practice. Tlie 
Gospel has not been given to men to be broken into pieces for the 
amusement of those who are but children in understanding, but that 
it may present to the weary and the thirsty soul, in its unsevered and 
sacred chalice, the " living water " of a divine salvation. If it fails 
to do this, it is because it is no longer entire, but has been rendered 
fragmentary and imperfect by the unfaithfulness or incapacity of those 
to whose charge it has been committed. History, indeed, reveals 
that the unhallowed ambitions of lordly prelates, the arrogant decre- 
tals of councils and of popes, the increasing corruptions of ignorance 
and superstition amidst ages of darkness, had indeed almost wholly 
obscured and perverted the Divine truths of the primitive gospel, 
when the reformation of Luther rescued, in part, the church from 
bondage and the Bible from the priests. But it likewise shows that 
an undue reliance upon human leaders, and a false confidence in 
human systems, speedily induced a state of things scarcely less fatal 
to Christianity. Leaving the doctrine of Christ, which teaches men 
to do right, Protestants allowed themselves to be carried away by 
a blind zeal for doctrines and religious theories in hopes to make 
men think right. Some favorite opinion, coined in the brain of an 
aspiring teacher, was permitted to acquire unjust authority, and to 
array in its support a forced and unwilling troop of scripture "texts." 
Opposing systems • marshaled their respective battalions, placing 
opinion against opinion and scripture against scripture. Those who 

♦"Religion of Protestants/' p. 463. Bonn's- Edition. 



should have been united in a common brotherhood, contending ear- 
nestly for "the faith once delivered to the saints," have wasted their 
resources, embittered their lives, and misused their opportunities in 
unhalluwed conflicts with each other. Party names, party standards, 
party watch-words have been matters of chief concern, while charity, 
unity, righteousness and peace have been left to perish. Some mere 
fragment of Divine truth, eked out by empty speculation, and 
decked in the flimsy trappings of human imagination, has been 
allowed to usurp an absolute authority soon to be questioned and 
•perhaps overthrown by some rival pretender to ecclesiastical domin- 
ion. Thus the history of Protestantism is little else than the history 
of the rise and fall of sects, the record of religious revolutions and 
eager struggles for denominational supremacy. 

The chief cause of this unhappy, divided, and distracted condition 
of religious society has been the assumption by the " clergy " of the 
exclusive right of interpreting the Scriptures. " He," says Chilling- 
worth, " that would usurp an absolute lordship and tyranny over 
any people, need not put himself to the trouble and difficulty of 
abrogating and disannulling the laws made to maintain the common 
liberty; for he may frustrate their intent, and compass his own design 
as well, if he can get the power and authority to interpret them *s he 
pleases, and. add to them what he pleases, and to have his interpreta- 
tions and additions stand for laws — if he can rule his people by his 
laws, and his laws by his lawyers." * In this way one of the funda- 
mental principles of Protestantism, "the right of private judgment," 
has in a good degree been rendered null, and the gift of the Bible to 
the "laity" unavailing. 

Against these evils and their causes the peace-loving and truth- 
loving among the Protestants have indeed again and again protested. 
"This presumptuous imposing," said the author just quoted, "of the 
senses of men upon the words of God, the special senses of men 
upon the general words of God, and laying them upon men's con- 
sciences together, under the equal penalty of death and damnation ; 
this vain conceit, that we can speak of the things of God better than in 
the words of God ; this deifying our own interpretations, and tyran- 
nous forcing them upon others; this restraining the word of God 
from that latitude and generality, and the understandings of men 
from that liberty wherein Christ and the apostles left them, is and 
hath been the only fountain of all the schisms of the church, and 
that which makes them immortal. Take away these walls of separa 
tion, and all will quickly be one. Take away this persecuting, burn- 
ing, cursing, damning of men for not subscribing to the words of 
men as the words of God; require of Christians only to believe 
Christ, and to call no man master but him only; let those leave 
claiming infallibility that have no title to it, and let them that in 
their words disclaim it, disclaim it likewise in their actions. In a 

♦"Religion of Protestants," p. 90. 



word, take away tyranny, which is the devil's instrument to sup- 
port errors, and superstitions, and impieties in the several parts of the 
world, which could not otherwise long withstand the power of truth ; 
I say, take away tyranny, and restore Christians to their just and full 
liberty of captivating their understanding to Scripture only ; and as 
rivers, when they have a free passage, run all to the ocean, so it 
may well be hoped, by God's blessing, that universal liberty, thus 
moderated, may quickly restore Christendom to truth and unity."* 

These weighty words were uttered nearly two centuries and a half 
ago, and though they have been so long unheeded, there is now 
reason to hope that the important truths they affirm are beginning to 
pervade the Protestant world, and that the hour is not distant when a 
successful effort may be made to unite all believers under one Divine 
Leader, and to extend the triumphs of the Gospel to the ends of the 
earth. The signs of the times clearly indicate that a mpre liberal 
feeling is extending itself among those who profess Christianity, and 
that they are becoming awakened to a sense of the evils of disunion, 
and of the great benefits likely to result from co-operation in the 
cause of Christ. Nor are the workings of Divine Providence less 
marked in the rapidly increasing facilities for introducing the gospel 
among nations heretofore buried in ignorance and idolatry, and in the 
humbling of those proud dynasties which have heretofore resisted all 
religious progress, and endeavored to maintain the rule of superstition. 
In the swift changes now occurring, may the people of God be wisely 
guided, and may the Good Spirit of our God, through whose pervad- 
ing presence alone unity can be established in the body of Christ, 
direct the hearts of all believers into the love of God and of each 
other, to the furtherance of the truth and the salvation of the world ! 

♦"Religion of Protestants/' p. 250. 



Genesis of the Old Testament — Genesis of the New — Anointing of 
Jesus by the Spirit — Christ's Function to Baptize in the Holy 
Spirit and in Fire — Holy Spirit a prominent subject in his 
Teachings — His Farewell Discourse. Pages 11-28. 


Christ's Prayer for the Holy Spirit — Not an Intercessory Prayer — 
Why recorded — Its Peculiar Features — Its Limitation to the 
Disciples — Relation of the Holy Spirit to Christian Unity — 
Analysis of the Prayer of Christ — Its main Purport, Pages 29-47. 


Christ's Prayer not for "Christian Union" — First Disciples already 
united — Difficulties — Distinction between Union and Unity — Unity 
the "Unity of the Spirit" — How Maintained and Lost — A Divine 
Gift — World not converted by Union but by Unity — This a Con- 
stant Result — The Divine Promises. Pages 48-67. 


Objections of Materialists — Matter and Spirit differ in Nature — Orig- 
inal Facts un demonstrable — Demoniac Possessions — Satanic Powet 


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— The Indwelling of the Spirit — Distinguishable from an Incarna- 
tion — From the Divine Omnipresence — The Term Guest Inappro- 
priate — The Spirit not to be confounded with the Word. 
Pages 68-87. 


John's Version of the Commission — Holy Spirit not given until 
after Christ's Ascension — Election of Matthias not ratified — Advent 
of the Comforter — Its great Importance — Completion of the Re- 
demptive Work — The Gift of the Holy Spirit — Literal and Real. 
Pages 88-100. 


Metaphorical Expressions relating to the Gift of the Spirit — Outpour- 
ing, Drinking, Baptizing — Various Impartations of the Spirit, 
direct, indirect — The Fact the same in all Cases — Unity effected 
by one Spirit — Supernatural Powers a transient Accompaniment. 
Pages 101-127. 


The Kingdom of Heaven — Its Nature and Design — Supernatural 
Powers in the Primitive Church — Paul's Reasoning in regard to 
them — Test of Discipleship— Martyrdom — Spiritual Gifts — Their 
Purposes — Miraculous Faith — The Human Will — Spiritual Gifts 
to be Distinguished from the Permanent Fruits of the Spirit. 
Pages 128-150. 


Manifestations of the Spirit prior to Pentecost — Compared with 
Miraculous Powers of Apostolic Age — Differ from the Gift of the 
Holy Spirit — Speculation and Sensuism — Different Dispensations 
of Religion — Position of the People of God under the Patriarchal, 
Jewish, and Christian Institutions. Pages 1 51-178. 

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Permanent Fruits of the Spirit — Nature of the Change produced in 
the Disciples at Pentecost — Renovation due to the Presence of the 
Spirit — Effects the same in all — Not from Ethical Precepts or 
Example — New Testament now replaces Supernatural Gifts, but 
not the Paraclete — The Impartation of the Spirit, the Design of 
the Gospel Ministry — An Earnest, a Seal, a Witness — Interior 
State of the Believer — Scripture the only Test of Religious Truth 
and Feeling — Love the Fulfilling of the Law. Pages 179-208. 

Means of obtaining the Holy Spirit — Faith, Obedience, Prayer — 
Example of Christ — Household of Cornelius, an Exceptional 
Case — Importance of the Gospel Order — Unavailing if alone- 
Delusions — Value of Truth — Requirements of the Church — Larger 
Measures of Spiritual Power — Efficient means of Perfection and 
Christian Unity. Pages 209-225. 

Influence of the Spirit in Conversion confounded with the Gift of 
the Spirit — Modern Views — State of the Question — Office of the 
Spirit in relation to the World — Conviction of Sin, of Righteous- 
ness, of Judgment — Accomplished by the Divine Testimony — 
Results of Modern Theories — Theories Unnecessary. 
Pages 226-251. 

The Nature and Necessity of Regeneration generally agreed upon — 
Importance of the Change — How Represented in Scripture — Not 
an Act but a Process — Different Parts of this Process — Baptism, 
how related to it — Extreme Views — Scripture the only Guide. 
Pages 252-274. 







Theories of Faith — False View of Regeneration — Spirit never given 
prior to Belief — Power of the Gospel — Superadded Agencies — 
Truth as a Power, as an Instrumentality — Change of Heart — Mode 
in which Truth acts — Theory of " Spiritual Operations " Unneces- 
sary. Pages 275-298. 

The Gospel a Divine Message — A Person and not Doctrines the Ob- 
ject of Faith — Christianity a Life — Parable of the Sower — Ob- 
stacles to the Reception of the Gospel — Their Removal — Theories 
of Conversion Unnecessaiy — Full Assurance of Faith — Influences 
of the Spirit, external, internal. Pages 299-325. 



Office of the Holy Spirit. 

Genesis of the Old Testament — Genesis of the New — Anointing of 
Jesus by the Spirit — Christ's Function to Baptize in the Holy 
Spirit and in Fire — The Holy Spirit a Prominent Subject in 
his Teachings — His Farewell Discourse. 

HERE is no subject more important in religion 

JL than that of the Holy Spirit. Unless this be 
properly understood, a large portion of the Bible, and 
especially of the New Testament, must remain unin- 
telligible. On the other hand, a just view of it will 
do more than a knowledge of any other particular 
topic to give harmony, clearness, and consistency to 
what may be learned of all other matters presented 
in the Word of God. That Word has been itself 
dictated by the Spirit, and the better our knowledge 
of the Author, the more correct will be our compre- 
hension of the entire volume. That the subject is, 
from its very nature, difficult and mysterious in many 
respects, is freely admitted ; but it is equally true 
that, so far as it is treated at all in Scripture, it is 
a legitimate subject of human inquiry, and an essen- 
tial portion of religious truth. ^ 




In the Old Testament the Spirit is introduced in 
the very beginning of the material creation, as 'mov- 
ing upon/ or brooding over, " the face of the waters/' 
When mentioned, he is usually termed the "Spirit 
of Jehovah," the " Holy Spirit of Jehovah," Ps. li : 2 ; 
the "Spirit of God" or the "Good Spirit of Jeho- 
vah," Ps. cxliii: 10; Neh. x: 20. He is spoken of 
as the source, giver and sustainer of life, Job xxvii : 
3 ; xxxiii : 4 ; Gen. ii : 7 ; as the source of Divine 
intelligence, Gen. xli: 38; Deut. xxxiv: 9; of me- 
chanical skill, xxviii : 3, etc. ; of supernatural gifts, 
Numb, xxiv : 2, etc. He is again referred to as 
"changing the heart" of Saul — i. e., as bestowing 
upon him proplietic inspiration — 1 Sam. x: 10. His 
departure from one to whom he had imparted any 
special grace is called the departure of God, 1 Sam. 
xvi : 14 ; and his presence is called the presence of 
God, 1 Sam. xvi: 13, etc. The references to the 
Spirit, however, in the Old Testament, are compar- 
atively few, and we will defer to a future occasion 
what we have to say as to the nature of his office 
prior to the advent of Christ. It will suffice to re- 
mark here that it was chiefly in the inspiration of 
the prophets, and in the miraculous powers conferred 
upon them, that the agency of the Spirit was then 
recognized. The ordinary gifts or fruits of the Spirit, 
however, which were to be more fully displayed un- 
der the Christian Institution, are referred to by Isaiah, 
xi : 1-5 ; lxi. 

As it is in the New Testament that this subject is 
chiefly developed, it will be proper to direct to this 



our first and principal attention. Here we find that, 
just as the Holy Spirit is introduced in the begin- 
ning of the material creation, so is he introduced 
also in the beginning of the new or spiritual crea- 
tion. He appears, in the Old Testament, as the act- 
ive agent in the genesis of the heavens and of the 
earth ; and in the very first chapter of the New Tes- 
tament this same Divine Spirit is presented to our 
view in the genesis of Christ. "The Holy Spirit 
shall come upon thee," said the angel to Mary, "and 
the power of the highest shall overshadow thee. 
Therefore also that holy thing which shall be born 
of thee shall be called the Son of God." Elsewhere 
he is termed " the first-born of every creature," * the 
Alpha and the Omega," "the Amen, the faithful and 
true Witness," the Beginning of the creation of God," 
"the Word that in the beginning was with God and 
was God," and " by whom all things were created 
that are in heaven and that are in earth, whether 
visible or invisible," material or spiritual. Col. i : 16. 

* Col. i: 15. Christ was "the first-born" (TzpurdroFoq) "of every 
creature ; " not in the sense of the possessive genitive, but in that 
of the genitive of the point of view — 4 in reference to.' That is, he 
was begotten antecedently to created things. Ellicott in loco. Again, 
he was "first-born" (7rpur6roKog) in respect to his mother Mary. 
Matt, i: 25. He was also "first-born" {irpurdTOKoc) "among many 
brethren " — of those who, as sons of God, were brought into the king- 
dom of heaven ; and finally he was " the first-born " (irpordTOKor, 
Rev. i: 5) " from the dead ; that in all things he might have the pre- 
eminence" — that he might be in all these respects first and chief, since 
" it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell." Col. i: 


It was to this " Head of all principality and power," 
this Word, now " made flesh," that the prophet fore- 
told a special and plenary impartation of the Spirit 
for the work of the new creation. " The Spirit of 
the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom 
and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, 
the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord, 
and shall make him of quick understanding in the 
fear of the Lord ; and he shall not judge after the 
sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing 
of his ears : but with righteousness shall he judge 
the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of 
the earth ; and he shall smite the earth with the rod 
of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall 
he slay the wicked. And righteousness shall be the 
girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his 
reins." Isa. xi : 1-5. And again, " The Spirit of 
the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath 
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek ; 
he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to 
proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of 
the prison to them that are bound ; to proclaim the 
acceptable year of the Lord and the day of vengeance 
of our God ; to comfort all that mourn ; to appoint 
unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them 
beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the 
garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, that 
they might be called trees of righteousness, the 
planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified." 
Isa. lxi : 1-3. It was after Jesus had been anointed 
with the Holy Spirit, and had returned to Nazareth, 



that, standing up, as usual, to read in the synagogue, 
he received from the minister the book of the prophet 
Isaiah, and, having opened it and found the above 
passage, he thus announced its application: "This 
day," said he, "is this Scripture fulfilled in your 
ears." Luke iv : 21. 

The approach of the "Sun of righteousness," how- 
ever, had not been unheralded. The morning star 
had already appeared to the nation of Israel as his 
Harbinger. John had already borne his testimony 
to Jesus, saying : " This was he of whom I spake. 
He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for 
he was. before me." And, in harmony with the dec- 
laration of the ancient prophet, he had introduced 
him as one who was to "proclaim the acceptable 
year of the Lord/' as well as " the day of vengeance 
of our God," when he said to the people, " I indeed 
baptize you with water unto repentance, but he that 
cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I 
am not worthy to bear, he shall baptize you in the 
Holy Spirit and in fire : Whose fan is in his hand, 
and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather 
the wheat into the garner, but will burn up the chaff 
with unquenchable fire." Matt, iii: 11, 12. 

It had thus not only been foretold by the prophet 
that the Spirit of the Lord should rest on the ex- 
pected Messiah, but it was now announced by John, 
as a special and distinguishing function of this com- 
ing One, that he would himself " baptize in the Holy 
Spirit." Furthermore, in order that John might be 
enabled certainly to recognize the Person thus corn- 

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missioned, there was given to him a sign. "I knew 
him not/' said he, "but that he should be made man- 
ifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing in wa- 
ter. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit 
descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode 
upon him. *And I knew him not ; but he that sent 
me to baptize in water, the same said unto me, Upon 
whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and re- 
maining on him, the same is he which baptizeth in 
the Holy Spirit. And I saw and bare record that 
this is the Son of God." Jno. i : 31, 34. Thus was 
fulfilled what Isaiah had said: "The Spirit of .the 
Lord shall rest upon him," and what he had him- 
self uttered by the mouth of Isaiah, "The Spirit of 
the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed 
me to preach good tidings [gospel] unto the meek," 
etc., and this fulfillment is thus narrated by Luke : 
"It came to pass that Jesus also being baptized, and 
praying, the heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit 
descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, 
and a voice came from heaven which said, Thou art 
rpy beloved Son ; in thee I am well pleased." iii: 21, 
22. Thus also had it been announced by Isaiah : 
"Behold my Servant whom I uphold, mine Elect 
in whom my soul delighteth : I have put my Spirit 
upon him ; he shall bring forth judgment to the 
Gentiles." xlii: 1. 

Both the Father and the Holy Spirit are thus 
here presented to us as associated with Christ and 
with his work. He is sent by the Father, who an- 
nounces him from the heavens, and by whom he is 



anointed with the Holy Spirit, in order that he might 
fulfill the great purposes of his mission. The Spirit 
appears as the immediately effective power in Christ, 
who does not enter upon his public ministry until this 
gift is imparted. He was then about thirty years of 
age, and we are informed that the Spirif was given 
to him " not by measure." It was imparted in all its 
fullness to him, in whom it pleased the Father that 
all fullness should dwell, even "the fullness of the 
godhead bodily." Col. i: 19; ii: 9.* From the mo- 
ment of its reception, the life of Christ is character- 
ized as under the immediate direction of the Spirit. 
He is at once "led up by the Spirit into the wilder- 
ness to be tempted of the devil." Subsequently, " he 
returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee." 
Luke iv: 14. He 'cast out devils by the Spirit of 
God/ and all the mighty works which he performed, 
as well as the precious teachings which he uttered, 
he attributed to that Divine power ever within him. 
"The Father that dwelleth in me," said he, "he do- 
eth the works." Jno. xiv: 10. Again, " He whom 

♦This "fullness" of the Spirit seems implied in the language of 
Isa. xi: 1. This same fullness of power and knowledge is indicated 
in the Apocalypse, where Christ appears under the symbol of a Lamb 
as it had been slain, "having seven horns and seven eyes, which are 
the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth."- The seven 
lamps of fire burning before the throne are also symbolic of "the 
seven Spirits of God." Rev. iv: 5. To the church of Sardis, it is 
written : " Thus saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God and the 
seven stars," the number "seven" being usually employed to denote 
fullness or completeness and perfection. 

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God hath sent, speaketh the words of God, for God 
giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him." Jno. 
iii: 34. The entire work of redemption, indeed, is, 
in a certain sense, represented as accomplished by 
the Spirit. It was by the Spirit that "God was in 
Christ reconciling the world unto himself." "By an 
eternal Spirit" Christ "offered himself without spot 
to God." "He was put to death in the flesh, but 
quickened by the Spirit," etc. 

Christ, however, not only thus accomplished the 
works of him that sent him, in signs and wonders 
and revelations of the truth, but also in the dispen- 
sation of the Holy Spirit to believers, which, as we 
have seen above, was committed to him. He was 
specially revealed to John the Baptist as "he that 
baptizeth in the Holy Spirit." From the manner in 
which this is announced, the vast importance evi- 
dently attached to it, and the fact that it is made a 
distinguishing characteristic of the ministry of Christ, 
it can not justly be supposed that this great function 
was fulfilled in the bestowment of the temporary and 
partial spiritual gifts of the apostolic age. Miracu- 
lous powers had been conferred before, and largely 
exercised, even under the Jewish Institution ; but 
this was, evidently, from the "very manner of its an- 
nunciation, something never yet vouchsafed to men — 
a ministration which belonged peculiarly to Christ — 
a function which was to be exercised in reference to 
an entire class, without any intimation of limit or re- 
striction as to its duration or its universality. 

It was prior to his identification of Jesus that John, 

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impressed with the superior dignity and glory of the 
coming One, cried out to the multitude in the re- 
markable words already quoted : " I indeed baptize 
you in water unto repentance, but he that cometh 
after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not 
worthy to bear; he shall baptize you in the Holy 
Spirit and in fire : whose fan is in his hand, and 
he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather the 
wheat into the garner; but will burn up the chaff 
with unquenchable fire." Having before him, on 
this occasion, the Pharisees and Sadducees, who 
had come to his baptism for certain selfish ends, 
and aWare that trie Messiah was not only " to pro- 
claim the acceptable year of the Lord," but also 
" the day of vengeance of our God," he very natu- 
rally extends his views to that future judgment of 
the impenitent, and, denouncing them as "a genera- 
tion of vipers," he inquires, in cutting irony, "Who 
hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come ? " 
He then exposes their vain reliance upon mere Abra- 
hamic descent, and admonishes them that the time 
was at hand when 'every tree which did not bring 
forth good fruit would be hewn down and cast into 
the fire/. In perfect harmony now with the circum- 
stances and the entire connection of thought, he 
announces that the "mightier" One, whose advent 
he heralded, would, on the one hand, bless the right- 
eous by the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and, on the 
other, punish the wicked by a baptism in fire — car- 
rying out the distinction and the contrast still fur- 
ther in the following verse, where he compares him 


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to the husbandman separating the chaff from the 
wheat, and, while gathering the former "into the 
garner," burning the latter "with unquenchable fi re." 
The baptism in the Spirit is thus here placed in di- 
rect opposition to the baptism in fire — the former 
involving the salvation and blessedness of the re- 
deemed, as an entire class, and the latter indicating 
the punishment prepared for the ungodly. Christ, 
himself, subsequently, employed similar language to 
that of John, in reference to the scribes and Phari- 
sees : " Ye serpents," said he, " ye generation of vi- 
pers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?" 
Matt, xxiii: 33.* 

* As the " fire " spoken of by John the Baptist in the passage above 
quoted has been most erroneously regarded by some as denoting the 
Holy Spirit, a few additional comments may not be inappropriate. 
The following is the note of Lange on Matt, iii ; 1 1 : " / indeed bap- 
tize you in (h) water (immersing you in the element of water) unto 
repentance — The Baptist thus declares that he is not the judge, and, 
at the "same time, that by his baptism of water he does not secure their 
salvationj but merely calls them to repentance. Lastly, he teaches 
them that his was merely a symbolical and temporary mission, as the 
forerunner, to prepare for the higher mission of the Messiah. He 
THAT COMETH AFTER ME (immediately following me),=the Messiah. 
The Baptist here describes his personal relation to the Messiah : I 
AM not worthy TO bear his sandals, to carry them and to take 
them away — in Mark and Luke, to tie on and to unloose. Among the 
Jews, Greeks and Romans this was the function of the meanest slaves. 
(See Wetstein, Rosenmuller, Jahn.) — He proceeds to point out the 
relation of his baptism to that of Christ. He shall baptize, or im- 
merse, you in the holy ghost and in fire. — He will either en- 
tirely immerse you in the Holy Ghost as penitents, or, if impenitent, 
he will overwhelm you with the fire of judgment (and at last with 
hell-fire). This interpretation of the expression i Jire } has been pro- 




According to the view here taken of Christ's func- 
tion in relation to the Holy Spirit, one of his appro- 
priate designations might be, " He that baptizeth in 

pounded by many of the Fathers (some of whom, however, referred it 
to the fire of purgatory) ; and among modern expositors by Kuinoel, 
Schott, Neander [DeWette, Meyer]. But some commentators, among 
them Erasmus [Chrys., Calv., Beng., Olshaus., Ebrard, Ewald, Alford, 
Wordsworth], apply the expression to the kindling, sanctifying fire of 
the Holy Ghost. The warning tone of the passage, and the expression 
UNQUENCHABLE FIRE, in verse 12, are against this interpretation. In 
some Codd. the words Kal nvpt are omitted, probably from the errone- 
ous supposition that they were equivalent to Holy Ghost." 

Thus far Dr. Lange. On this, Dr. P. Schaff observes that " it is 
harsh to separate the 4 Holy Spirit* and 'fire' as referring to different 
classes of persons, when they are clearly united in 'vfiaq and by the 
copulative Kal (not the disjunctive y, aut)." There would be some 
force in this observation were it not that, in the context immediately 
preceding, the two classes of persons are already introduced, and that 
the contrast between them and the respective destiny of each is again 
presented in the following verse (12)* The similitude used by John 
in verse 10, is employed by Christ himself near the close of the ser- 
mon on the mount, vii: 17-19, where he plainly refers to two classes 
of professors. Dr. Schaff goes onto affirm as follows: "This prophecy 
was literally fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit 
descended upon the disciples in tongues of fire. Acts ii : 3." The 
Scripture does not sustain Dr. Schaff in this assertion, so inconsistent 
with the comment of the more judicious Lange. The Scripture does 
not say, in Acts ii: 3, tl there appeared unto them " cloven tongues of 
fire, but "tongues like as of fire" (koel nvpdg) — a proposition quite as 
different from that of Dr. Schaff as truth in appearance is from truth 
itself or a " a show of wisdom " from wisdom. Literally ', there was 
no " fire" whatever on the occasion. The " tongues like as of fire " 
were emblematic, and to suppose them a literal fulfillment of a figure 
used by John is to suppose absurdly that we have one figure fulfilled 
by another. Nothing could be more appropriate than such an ' appear- 
ance 1 on Pentecost, as indicative of the gift of languages and the in- 

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the Holy Spirit," just as we have, " He that cometh " 
(6 i^o//svoc), or " He that liveth," or " He that hath 
the seven Spirits of God." This baptism also is to 
be regarded as applicable to the entire class of be- 

spiration then bestowed. It gave, as it were, visible expression to the 
particular powers then imparted, and indicated the penetrating and 
illuminating influence of the Word of God, now to be declared in the 
various tongues of earth. " Is not my word like as a fire ? saith the 
Lord." Jer. xxiii : 29. 

If it were at all allowable, in harmony with the context, to regard 
the saying, " He shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit and fire," as ap- 
plicable to one class — the obedient, only — it would be still an error to 
make "fire" a symbol or a synonym for the Holy Spirit, since the 
Holy Spirit is here distinctly mentioned, so that to add to it "and 
fire " would be mere tautology. Furthermore, if both apply to be- 
lievers, " fire" would have to be understood — not of the Holy Spirit, 
but of those afflictions and trials which they were to undergo, and 
which are elsewhere represented under the figure of " fire," and also 
under that of a "baptism." "Think not strange," says Peter, "of 
the fiery trial which is to try some of you." " The fire shall try 
every man's work" — i.e., his converts — says Paul. "Every one shall 
be salted with fire, as every sacrifice is salted with salt," said Jesus, 
after he had counseled the disciples to cast into the fire any thing dear 
to them, as a hand or an eye, if it proved a snare/rather than to have 
the whole body cast into hell-fire. As faith is thus represented "tried 
by fire," so the afflictions and persecutions of believers are also com- 
pared to a baptism ; as when Christ said to the sons of Zebedee, " Ye 
shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of, and with the baptism 
that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized." Mark x: 39. "I 
am come to send fire on the earth," again said Jesus, Luke xii; 49; 
" and what will I, if it be already kindled ? But I have a baptism to 
undergo, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished?" Such 
figurative uses of "baptism" and of "fire" occu», but never conjoined, 
and when, in the case of John's declaration, the circumstances and 
the context are considered, the interpretation given by Lange must 
be regarded as the true one. 



lievers, without exception, since there is nothing 
whatever in its announcement restricting it to a 
limited number or to a particular time. On the 
contrary, the manner of its announcement forbids 
any such restriction, and leaves it just as universal 
and as permanent, on the one hand, as the punish- 
ment of the wicked remains upon the other. As 
to the particular force of the expression, "baptize 
in the Holy Spirit," this will be considered more 
appropriately hereafter. It will be sufficient to say, 
at present, that it is regarded as referring simply 
to that impartation or communication of the Holy 
Spirit to believers which is equally true of all, since 
" if a man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none 
of his," and that it is hence a function which can 
terminate only with the close of the Christian dis- 
pensation. Christ is thus appropriately represented 
as the dispenser of this Divine gift to the Church, 
of which he is the head, throughout all the ages ; 
while, on the other hand, as " all judgment is com- 
mitted unto the Son," the punishing of the wicked, 
the baptism in fire, is, with equal propriety, assigned 
to him. "Behold," said the Lord by Malachi, in 
reference to this very ministry of John and of Jesus, 
"I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the 
way before me ; and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall 
suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger 
of the covenant, whom ye delight in : behold, he 
shall come, saith the Lord of Hosts. But who may 
abide the day of his coming, and who shall stand 
when he appeareth ? for he is like a refiner's fire 

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and like fuller's soap; and he shall sit as a refiner 
and purifier of silver, and he shall purify the sons 
of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that 
they may offer unto the Lord an offering in right- 
eousness." — "For, behold, the day cometh that shall 
burn as an oven, and all the proud, yea, all that do 
wickedly, shall be stubble ; and the day that cometh 
shall burn them up, saith the Lord of Hosts, and it 
shall leave them neither root nor branch." 

Taking for granted, then, what will be more fully 
shown hereafter, that it was one of the great distin- 
guishing functions of Christ to "baptize in the Holy 
Spirit," or, in other words, to impart the Holy Spirit 
to believers, we would naturally expect to find that, 
during his ministry, this particular matter would oc- 
cupy prominently his attention. Even in advance 
of the period of its accomplishment, we would expect 
him, in his teachings, to dwell upon this great end 
or purpose of his mission. Conscious of its vast 
importance, he could not fail to direct the attention 
of his auditors to it as the essential matter in his 
ministry, and to seek to impress it upon them with 
peculiar earnestness. Accordingly, we find, upon 
even a cursory survey of his recorded instructions, 
that this subject presents itself with marked dis- 
tinctness, and with a frequency and an earnestness 
entirely consonant with the view above given. In 
the most affectionate and impressive manner, he ad- 
monishes and exhorts his disciples, in anticipation 
of the appointed period when the Spirit was to be 
given, to ask, that they might receive ; to seek, that 


they might find ; to knock, that it might be opened 
to them. " If a son shall ask bread," said he, " of 
any of you tbat is a father, will he give him a stone? 
Or if he ask a fish, will he, for a fish, give him a 
serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer 
him a scorpion ? If ye then, being evil, know how 
to give good gifts unto your children, how much 
more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy 
Spirit to them that ask him." Luke xi: 11-13. The 
Holy Spirit is, of course, in all cases, the gift of God, 
and we have here an assurance of its impartation to 
his children not less remarkable for its simple beauty 
and emphatic earnestness than for its universality. 
There is to be no exception whatever. If evil men 
can give good gifts to their children, much more 
shall the Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to 
those who are his children. They are, therefore, 
counseled to seek it diligently and perseveringly 
until their request be granted, as exemplified in 
the parable just preceding, verse 5-8. On another 
occasion he, in the most positive terms, assures the 
Jewish ruler that "the flesh profiteth nothing," and 
that "it is the Spirit that quickeneth." Again, seated 
by a well, in conversation with the woman of Sama- 
ria, he takes occasion to say that if she knew " the 
gift of God," and who it was who said to her, " Give 
me to drink," she would have asked of him, and he 
would have given her " living water." Standing, sub- 
sequently, amidst the concourse, on the great day of 
one of the national feasts, and with the purpose of 
his mission resting on his heart, he was moved to 

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cry aloud, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me 
and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Script- 
ure hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of 
living water. (But this spake he of the Spirit, which 
they that believe on him should receive. For the 
Holy Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus 
was not yet glorified.)" Jno. vii: 37-39. A similar 
pressing sense of the sacredness and transcendent 
importance of the work of the Spirit, seems to have 
induced him to pronounce that strong condemnation 
of those who blasphemed the Holy Spirit, Matt, xii : 
31, which, in every age, has aroused the consciences 
of men and stimulated to earnest inquiry. 

It is, however, in his last interviews with his dis- 
ciples, prior to his sufferings, when he was about to 
leave them, that, with a peculiar tenderness of feel- 
ing, he reveals to them, in explicit terms, his unity 
with the Father, and informs them that he will not 
leave them desolate, but will send them another 
Comforter or Paraclete, to abide with them forever. 
He assures them that he will thus come to them, 
and that, in receiving this promised Comforter, they 
would themselves realize that unity of which he had 
spoken, and know " that I am in my Father, and you 
in me, and I in you. ,, This promise he conditions 
directly upon that obedience to his commandments 
which alone could evince love to God, and secure, 
in turn, the love of God, and that manifestation of 
the Spirit of which he had spoken. When asked by 
one of the disciples how he would manifest himself 
to them, and not unto the world, he reiterates in 

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still plainer language : " If a man love me, he will 
keep my words, and my Father will love him, and 
we will come unto him and make our abode with 
him." Jno. xiv: 15-23. Again and again, in this 
touching farewell discourse to his disciples, does he 
assure them, as the special source of consolation, 
that he will send to them this Paraclete, " which is," 
said he, "the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send 
in my name." xiv: 26.* "When the Comforter is 
come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, 
even the Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the 

* In the New Testament, the titles used to designate the Divine 
Spirit are: "The Holy Spirit," "the Spirit of God," « the Spirit of 
Christ," " The Spirit of [the] truth," or simply " The Spirit." In his 
farewell discourse Christ first introduces another title, "The Para- 
clete," found only in John, and by him, in his first epistle, applied 
to Christ, and translated Advocate, 1 Jno. ii: 1. Its etymon, the 
verb parakaleo (izapaKalku) , occurs often in the New Testament, and 
is rendered generally by beseech , entreat, exhort, or comfort. The 
noun Paraclete is found only five times — four times in Christ's fare- 
well discourse, and once in 1 Jno. ii: I. It has been variously ren- 
dered Comforter, Advocate, Monitor, Teacher, but chiefly by the two 
first. Most of the early Greek Fathers understood it in the sense of 
a Consoler; the early Latin Church, however, in that of Advocate. 
With the latter the term advocate had a wider meaning than with us, 
and does not now fairly represent either their idea or that of the Greek 
term Paraclete, both of these involving counsel, rather than pleading, 
to which "advocate" is now chiefly confined. Neither is the word 
Comforter, unless taken in a wide sense, as Helper, Strengthener, 
Supporter, as well as Consoler, sufficient to give the full import of 
the Greek term. It is doubtless, however, the best word our lan- 
guage admits, and is most appropriate in Christ's discourse, in which 
comfort to his disciples, on account of his departure, was naturally 
prominent, while, in 1 Jno. ii : 1, Advocate is the better rendering. 



Father, he shall testify of me." xv: 26. Finding 
that sorrow filled their hearts at the thought of his 
departure, he says again : " Nevertheless, I tell you 
the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away; 
for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come 
unto you ; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." 
xvi: 7. 

It was after giving these assurances and consola- 
tions to his disciples that, in their hearing and pres- 
ence, Christ offered up the remarkable prayer re- 
corded in Jno. xvii, which was the closing act of his 
ministry anterior to his betrayal in Gethsemane. As 
this prayer has a special relation to our subject, and 
as its scope and real purport seem to be scarcely at 
all understood by the religious community, it will 
now claim our particular attention. 

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Christ's Prayer for the Holy Spirit — Not an Intercessory Prayer — Why 
Recorded — Its Peculiar Features — Its Limitation to the Disci- 
ples — Relation of the Holy Spirit to Christian Unity — Analysis 
of the Prayer of Christ — Its Main Purport. 

HE necessity of a loving obedience, in order to 

the reception of the Holy Spirit, is constantly 
maintained in Scripture. Peter said to the Jews : 
"We are witnesses of these things, and so also is 
the Holy Spirit which God gives to them who obey 
him? It was in harmony with this principle that 
Christ said to his disciples, Jno. xiv: 15-17, "If ye 
love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray 
the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, 
that he may abide with you forever, even the Spirit 
of Truth, whom the world can not receive because it 
seeth him not, neither knoweth him ; but ye know 
him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." 
The "world" — that is, the unbelieving, and, conse- 
quently, disobedient, world — could not receive the 
Spirit. This blessedness was exclusively restricted 
to those who believed, who recognized God in Christ, 
and who followed and obeyed him. Hence it was 
made a specific condition that the disciples should 
manifest their love for Christ by obedience, in order 


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that, in answer to the prayer which he promised to 
- offer, the Father should send to them another Com- 
forter, who was to continue with them permanently. 
This prayer, accordingly, which Christ, at the close 
of his discourse, offered to the Father, in the pres- 
ence of his disciples, is, we affirm, his promised prayer 
for the Holy Spirit, embracing all the specified con- 
ditions and all the designed and needed results. I 
am not aware that it has ever been by any one prop- 
erly regarded in this point of view, in which alone, 
as I trust to make it evident, it can be rightly com- 
prehended. It is not a prayer for Christian Union, 
in. behalf of which it is constantly misquoted. It is 
not "The Intercessory Prayer," as theologists term 
it — darkening counsel by words without knowledge. 
Intercession implies parties at variance. Nothing 
of this kind appears in the prayer, or in the circum- 
stances under which it was offered. There is no in- 
terceding for offenders in it. It is not intercessory 
in any sense in which all prayer for others may not be 
so termed. It consists simply of a statement of facts, 
and of those petitions which these facts warrant. The 
facts were not that the disciples had disobeyed, and 
that they needed intercession, but the very reverse 
of this, as Christ declares of them: "Thine they 
were, and thou gavest them me ; and they have kept 
thy word!' "They have believed that thou didst 
send me." " I pray for them ; I pray not for the 
world, but for them which thou hast given me, for 
they are thine." 41 1 have given them thy word, and 
the world hath hated them because they are not of 

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the world, even as I am not of the world," etc. There 
is not a word in the prayer which could be properly 
termed intercessory, but, on the contrary, the atti- 
tude in which the disciples are placed in it through- 
out, shows clearly that they were regarded as entirely 
prepared to receive the great blessing, the burden of 
the whole prayer — that Divine unity which it is the 
office of the Holy Spirit to impart, and a prayer for 
which is equivalent to a direct petition for the Spirit 

In order, however, that the questions relating to 
this most remarkable prayer of Christ may be prop- 
erly approached, we may remark that we might 
justly expect to find on record that prayer for the 
Comforter which he had promised to offer. This 
we should expect from — 

I. The Importance of such a Prayer. The simple 
fact that Christ thought it necessary to inform his 
disciples beforeliand of this intended special petition 
to the Father, implies that it was one of no ordinary 
moment. It was near the time of his own departure 
from them, and the promise was evidently given to 
comfort and sustain them, in view of the trial they 
were soon to experience in losing that personal 
watch-care which had heretofore guarded and pre- 
served them. In announcing to his disciples, whom 
he affectionately terms "little children," that he could 
be with them but a little while ; that they would vainly 
seek him, and could not then follow him, he says : 
" Let not your heart be troubled : ye believe in God ; 
believe also in me ; " and, after informing them that 

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he was going to prepare a place for them, and de- 
claring to them the unity which existed between him 
and the Father, assuring them that whatsoever they 
should ask in his name he would do, "that the Fa- 
ther might be glorified in the Son," he goes on to 
say that if they loved him and kept his command- 
ments, he would himself pray the Father, "and he 
shall send you," said he, "another Comforter, that he 
may abide with you forever." Wonderful and mys- 
terious as was to their partially enlightened minds 
that Word made flesh, whose glory had entranced, 
and whose power had kept them, they are informed 
that they are to have the comfort and support of 
"another Paraclete," whose presence was not to be 
withdrawn, but of whose nature, work, and office they 
could, as yet, have no adequate conception or antici- 
pation. How important, then, to them at this mo- 
ment was such a communication, and especially the 
promise that their beloved Lord would himself pray 
for and send to them this unhoped-for blessing! 
How hard to suppose that the fulfillment of a prom- 
ise so important to the Church in all ages would 
fail to be noted by the apostle by whom the prom- 
ise itself is recorded ! 

2. The Usage of the Scriptures. It is a very obvi- 
ous and striking fact that when the fulfillment of a 
prediction falls within the period embraced by the 
Scripture narrative it is carefully recorded. Thus 
the accomplishment of the Old Testament prophe- 
cies in relation to Christ and his kingdom is care- 
fully detailed in the New Testament. We find that, 

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in like manner, similar predictions given by Christ 
himself, or by Christian prophets, have their fulfill- 
ment carefully noted. Thus, on one occasion, Christ 
told the disciples that there were some standing 
among them who should, before their death, see the 
Son of Man coming in his kingdom ; and in the 
next chapter we have the accomplishment of this in 
the transfiguration, when Peter, James, and John were 
permitted to witness, by anticipation, the glory of 
the exalted Redeemer. .Again, when if is foretold 
to Peter that he would deny his Master, the actual 
occurrence of the denial is minutely recorded. So, 
also, we have the promise of the calling of the Gen- 
tiles, Jno. x: 16; Matt, xii: 21, etc., and the fulfill- 
ment, Acts x ; the prediction of the betrayal, John 
xiii: 21, and its accomplishment, Jno. xviii; and 
many other cases which will occur to the Bible 
reader, both in the Old and the New Testament. 
From the latter we may adduce another example 
not generally recognized. 

Christ said to Peter, xxi: 22, concerning John, 
" If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to 
thee?" Now we have, in the first chapter of the 
Apocalypse, the evident fulfillment of this intima- 
tion in the coming of Christ to the aged apostle in 
the Isle of Patmos, when he thus announced him- 
self: "I am he that liveth and was dead, and, be- 
hold, I am alive for evermore, Amen, and have the 
keys of hell and of death." In answer to Peter's 
perhaps jealous inquiry respecting John, "And what 
shall this man do?" Christ seems to have desired 

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to intimate to him that there should be accorded to 
the beloved apostle the privilege of surviving until he 
should come as he did to him in person, with special 
communications to the churches. But it is unnec- 
essary to dwell upon a feature in the Scriptures so 
well known, and so necessary, indeed to their credi- 
bility, since it is the fulfillment of a prediction that 
exhibits the Divine authority and the truthfulness 
of the prophet who delivered it ; and the accomplish- 
ment of a promise — the faithfulness of him who gave 
it. There is, therefore, a strong antecedent probabil- 
ity that John, who records Christ's promise to pray 
for the Comforter, would also be careful to record 
its fulfillment. Coming, however, to Christ's prayer 
itself, as presented to us, we find, both in it and in 
the attending circumstances, abundant evidence that 
we have here the fulfillment of Christ's promise. We 
notice, i, the singular fact that 

This prayer was offered up in the presence and 
audience of the disciples. Private prayer is made in 
solitude, and, for the purpose of such prayer, Christ 
often secluded himself from his disciples. Here, how- 
ever, he prays in their presence, yet not with them, 
but for them. He uses the first person, and the 
address is directly from him to the Father in behalf 
of the " little flock " which surrounded him, and for 
their successors in the faith. The most probable 
explanation of this singular fact seems to be that 
he wished the disciples to know that he fulfilled the 
promise given, and not only so, but also to learn, 
from the very manner of its fulfillment, more fully 

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and impressively, not only the nature of the blessing 
sought, but the relation which he sustained to the Fa- 
ther, as well as to the disciples themselves. It would 
be difficult to conceive how they could so well re- 
ceive in any other way those practical assurances and 
touching consolations which they so much needed, as 
in the simple utterances of this wondrous prayer, so 
comprehensive in its scope, and so far-reaching in 
its application ; so full of gentle affection, filial con- 
fidence, and unswerving truth. There is nothing like 
it anywhere, nor have we in any other portion of 
Scripture such a revelation of the relation subsist- 
ing between the Father and the Son, Christ and his 
people. But that this prayer is truly and substan- 
tially the prayer for the Holy Spirit, may be further 
shown by the fact that — 

2. // is Offered Exclusively for the Disciples, It is a 
very remarkable feature in this prayer that Christ says 
in it, in express terms, " I pray not for the world, but 
for those whom thou hast given me out of the world." 
At first view it might appear strange that the Savior, 
at this supreme moment, when about to offer himself 
as a sacrifice for the sin of the world, should thus ex- 
cept the world from his petitions in this solemn and 
comprehensive prayer ; that he should say, distinctly 
and publicly, to his Father, "I pray not for the world." 
But this becomes entirely comprehensible and appro- 
priate when the only explanation the case admits is 
given, to wit: that the particular blessing for which 
he then prayed could not be received or enjoyed by 
the world. Now this blessing could be no other than 

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the gift of "the Holy Spirit which God gives to them 
who obey him," and which Christ, just before, had de- 
clared the world could not receive. " I will pray the 
Father," said he, " and he will give you another Com- 
forter . . . ; even the Spirit of Truth, whom the 
world can not receive, because it seeth him not 
neither knoweth him. But ye know him, for he 
dwelleth with you and shall be in you." Heretofore 
he had been with them in the person of Christ, in 
whom he dwelt, but the time was at hand when the 
Holy Spirit should dwell in the disciples also. Here- 
tofore to them the manifestation had been God in 
the flesh — Christ with them ; this was soon to be 
changed into a manifestation of Christ in them, by 
his Spirit. " I will not leave you comfortless," * he 
adds, " I will come to you. ... At that day ye 
shall know that I am in my Father and you in me 
and I in you." Heretofore, "anointed with the Holy 
Spirit and with power," Christ had " manifested forth 
his glory" in miracles, wonders, and signs; in pre- 
cious instructions ; in divine revelations both to his 
disciples and to the world. The time approached 
when he was to manifest himself differently and ex- 
clusively to the disciples. When the question is 
asked by one of them, " Lord, how is it that thou wilt 
manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world?" 

**' Comfortless " is an inadequate rendering of bp^avdvg. "Or* 
phans," given as a marginal reading and adopted by Geo. Campbell 
is also incorrect. Originally with the ancients it meant deprived of 
children, now it signifies deprived of parents. The proper sense %>i 
bp$avov£ is desolate, destitute, deprived of guardianship. 

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he replies, " If a man love me, he will keep my words, 
and my Father will love him, and we will come unto 
him and make our abode with him. ,, The meaning 
of this promise is clearly seen from the declaration 
of Christ — John vii : 38, " He that believeth on me, 
as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow 
rivers of living water." " But this," adds an inspired 
commentator, "spake he of the Spirit which they 
that believe on him should receive. For the Holy 
Spirit was not yet given, because that Jesus was not 
yet glorified." Believers, then, only were to receive 
the Spirit. The unbelieving world (xoafioz) could 
not participate in this blessing which was to be be- 
stowed only on those whose hearts, ' purified by faith/ 
(Acts xv : 9) were thus prepared to receive it. It 
was such individuals as " after believing" were "sealed 
with the Holy Spirit of promise " that were to be 
" builded together for an habitation of God through 
the Spirit," Eph. i: 13; ii: 22. It is here, more- 
over, explained why the Holy Spirit was not given 
at the time of Christ's ministry on earth. The rea- 
son was that Christ had not yet been "glorified." 
As he said, " It is expedient for you that I go away, 
for if I go not away the Comforter will not come to 
you, but if I depart I will send him unto you." It 
was necessary that Christ should " die for our sins," 
that he should be "raised again for our justification," 
and be "exalted to the throne of his glory, having 
obtained eternal redemption for us" — in a word, it 
was necessary that the work of Christ should thus 
be finished, before the redeemed could receive that 

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final manifestation of God in the gift of the Holy 
Spirit, which was to abide with them forever, and 
which is not to be mistaken for the " charisms," or 
special powers which this Spirit communicated to the 
church for temporary purposes and for a limited time, 
" The gift of the Holy Spirit " is here the Spirit him- 
self, the Paraclete, promised by Christ to all believers 
and first sent down on the day of Pentecost, after the 
glorification of Christ. "Therefore being by the 
right hand of God exalted," says Peter, " and having 
received of the Father the promise of the Holy 
Spirit, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and 
hear." (Compare Acts ii: 33, 38; x: 44; xi: 15, 
16.) The world could see and hear the miraculous 
power which the Spirit displayed in the confirmation 
of the testimony both of Christ and his followers, 
but this "world" could neither "see" nor "know" 
the Holy Spirit as the Paraclete, the attesting "seal" 
of true discipleship, the assuring " earnest " of an 
eternal inheritance. The Spirit of God bore testi- 
mony to the messiahship of Jesus in the miracles 
and mighty works which he and his apostles per- 
formed before the world, and the apostles themselves 
added their own individual testimony. "When the 
Comforter is come," said Jesus, " whom I will send 
unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth, 
which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of 
me. And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have 
been with me from the beginning," John xv: 26, 27. 
Hence Peter says (Acts v: 32), "We are his wit- 
nesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Spirit 

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which God hath given to them that obey htm." Thus 
the world could receive the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit, and the testimony of those who were the wit- 
nesses of Christ's life, death, resurrection, and ascen- 
sion, but not " until after that they believed," could 
any receive that Holy Spirit as an indwelling pres- 
ence and an abiding earnest of future blessedness. 
The world could receive " the word," u the gospel," 
" the truth," and hence the apostles were directed to 
"go into all the world and preach the gospel to 
every creature," to " make disciples, baptizing them 
into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy 
Spirit " — the promise being assured to all who would 
obey the gospel that they should receive the remis- 
sion of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit, "for," 
said* Peter to the Jews, " the promise is to you and 
* to your children and to all that are afar off, even as 
many as the Lord our God shall call." * 

* This promise is evidently to all obedient believers in all ages. 
It is to the Jews and to their " children " or descendants — also to 
those who were " afar off," the Gentiles, of whom Christ had said, 
" other sheep have I who are not of this fold, them also must I bring, 
and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one 
shepherd," John x : 16. It was to these as to the Jews — to all who 
would hear the Saviour's voice. Peter, in speaking of the conversion 
of the Gentiles, said : " God made choice among us, that the Gen- 
tiles by my mouth should hear the gospel and believe. And God 
who knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy 
Spirit even as he did unto us, and put no difference between us and 
them, purifying their hearts by faith." Both the words here rendered 
"giving" and "purifying" are, in the original, in the aorist tense, 
which indicates that which is usually or always true. It was in ful- 

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It is easy to perceive, then, from these most ex- 
plicit and unmistakable declarations of Holy^Writ, 
how it was that Christ, in praying according to his 
promise that the Father would send the Comforter, 
could not entreat this blessing for the world or 
xoofioz. It is easy to see why he made an express 
statement that he prayed, not for the world, but for 
those that God had given him " out of the world." 
"I have given them thy word," said Jesus, "and the 
world hath hated them, because they are not of the 
world, even as I am not of the world." His prayer, 

fillment of the regular and established Divine plan or method, that 
all hearts were to be purified by faith, and that God would give his 
Holy Spirit to all thus prepared to receive it. This purification oc- 
curred only in those who * heard the gospel and believed* " Ye are 
clean" said Jesus to the disciples, " through the word which I have 
spoken unto you," John xv: 3. So, also, in praying for the Com- 
forter for them, he first states the fact as to his personal followers : " I 
have given unto them the words which thou gavest me, and they have 
received them and have known surely that I came out from thee, and 
have believed that thou didst send me" Again, the future disciples he 
characterizes as those who shall believe on him through the apostle's 
word or gospel, and for such, and such only, he entreats that Divine 
blessing of unity with himself and with the Father which proceeded 
from the impartation of the Holy Spirit. The promise rehearsed by 
Peter is thus to " as many as the Lord our God shall call." For as 
Christ taught, " Every man that hath heard, and hath learned of the 
Father, cometh unto me." Thus it was foretold, " They shall all be 
taught of God." It was necessary thus to hear and to learn of the 
Father's love in the gospel of his Son, and none could come to Jesus 
but those who were thus "drawn of the Father" — to whose hearts 
God had manifested his love in sending his Son to save the world. 
All such were " called of God," being called by the gospel of hia 

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accordingly, was for that Holy Spirit which the chil- 
dren of God alone were to receive, in harmony with 
the Divine will, as well as with the nature of that 
spiritual kingdom now to be established among men, 
and which was "righteousness, peace, and joy in 
the Holy Spirit." 

It may be objected here, that in this prayer the 
word Comforter does not occur; that Christ does 
not, in express terms, pray the Father to send the 
Holy Spirit to the disciples. He says merely " Holy 
Father keep through thine own name those whom 
thou hast given me, that they may be one as we are." 
It is granted that the Holy Spirit is not directly men- 
tioned, and that the petition here is simply and ex- 
pressly for oneness, such as existed between Christ 
himself and the Father. It is to be remembered, 
however, that prayer for an end is, in effect, prayer 
for the means by which that end is to be attained. 
The oneness here spoken of could be effected in no 
other way than by the presence of the Spirit in be- 
lievers, and hence a petition for this oneness is a 
prayer for the Holy Spirit, which, as we have seen, 
had not yet been given, and which alone was now 
wanting to complete the blessings which the Gospel 
was designed to impart. 

Furthermore, in view of the mysterious unity of 
the Godhead, it might have been incongruous for 
Christ in a direct address to the Father, to employ 
terms and maintain distinctions adapted especially to 
men's capacities, and to pray, in express terms for 
the Comforter or Paraclete, especially since the Spirit 

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could be such only as in the disciples and to them 
alone. He could, nevertheless, appropriately pray 
for the consummation of that spiritual " oneness " 
which it was the office of the Holy Spirit to estab- 
lish between the Redeemer and the redeemed. Sim- 
ilarly, even in regard to those manifestations of the 
Divine nature itself, involved in the plan of re- 
demption, and, by the Saviour, for the first time 
clearly made known, it is through the pervading 
presence and oneness of the Spirit that the unity 
of God reveals itself to human conception. It was 
not until Jesus was anointed by the Holy Spirit, or 
formally constituted the Christ, that the heavens were 
opened and he was publicly announced as " the Son 
of God/' It was then that he entered upon his min- 
istry, and in "the power of the Spirit" fulfilled his 
mission. In all his teaching, while affirming his own 
Divine character and Sonship, and that "all men 
should honor the Son even as they honor the Father," 
he is, at the same time, careful to declare the Divine 
unity, and that he and the Father are " one." " Be- 
lieve the works," said he, " that ye may know and 
believe that the Father is in me and I in him," John 
x: 38. When Philip urges, "Show us the Father 
and it sufficeth us," the reply is, " Have I been so 
long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, 
Philip ? He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father, 
and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father ? Be- 
lievest thou not that I am in the Father and the 
Father in me ? The words that I speak unto you, I 
speak not of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in 

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me, he cloeth the works/' John xiv : 9, 10. Not only 
then, in virtue of his birth through the Spirit, but by 
the indwelling of that Spirit, did Jesus show forth 
his glory as the " Word made flesh," dwelling among 
men " full of grace and truth," and exhibiting in him- 
self that unity with God of which he now prays that 
his disciples may be made partakers : " Keep, through 
thine own name," he entreats of the Father, " those 
whom thou hast given me, that they may be one as 
we are." That it is this unity which constitutes the 
principal feature in this remarkable prayer, so far as 
it relates to the disciples, will be evident upon a 
careful examination or analysis of the prayer itself, 
to which the attention of the reader is now invited. 

Declaring that the appointed hour had now arrived, 
he prays in the first instance for his own glorification, 
in order that he might then, in the further execution 
of the Divine purposes committed to him, impart to 
those whom the Father had given him, eternal life. 
Having thus petitioned for his own exaltation, in 
view of his having " finished the work " which the 
Father had given him to do, [an exaltation which was 
also a necessary preliminary to the sending of the 
Holy Spirit], he proceeds at once to speak of the 
disciples, who, he says, had received and kept the 
words which the Father had given him, and had be- 
lieved in his Divine mission. Formally excluding 
the world, he now prays expressly for these alone, 
entreating that as he himself by whom they had been 
" kept " was about to leave them in the world, the 
Father would now keep them through his own name, 

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" that," says he, " they may be one as we are." As he 
was now coming to the Father, he speaks these things 
while yet " in the world " — while yet with them, in 
order that the Divine Presence, and that blessed 
unity which constituted his own joy, might be theirs 
also. For this he now urges their need, as well as 
their preparedness. They had received the word 
of God ; they were no longer of " the world," and 
were hence exposed to the hatred of the world and 
the enmity of the Evil One. He does not desire 
that they should be removed from these trials and 
dangers, but that they should be "kept" or protected 
from the Evil One while in the world, in the fulfill- 
ment of the mission to which he had appointed them. 
To this end he prays that they may be sanctified 
through the truth, the word of God, the gospel, through 
which the Divine Spirit would enable them to main- 
tain that separation from the world exemplified in 
Christ himself, who now sent them as his embassa- 
dors to the world, as he had himself been sent of 
God, and for their sakes had sanctified himself, as a 
consecrated High Priest, having been " without sin," 
holy, harmless, undefiled, and separated from sinners. 

Passing now, by an easy transition, to those who 
should believe on him through the word of these 
apostles, and anticipating the success of their labors 
in making converts from the world, he offers for 
these future disciples precisely the same petition for 
unity — " that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art 
in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us." 
The believers of the present, as welLas of all future 

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time, were thus to partake alike of this "oneness" 
in Christ, and he had, accordingly, already assigned 
or given to them, in the promise " I will send you 
another Comforter who shall abide with you forever " 
[with the church through all successive ages], that 
"glory" [that Holy Spirit which God had bestowed 
on him], in order, says he, " that they may be one 
as we are one," that they may be made perfect in one 
[in unity], the great end or purpose to be thereby 
accomplished, on behalf of the world being " that the 
world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast 
loved them as thou hast loved me." He then closes 
this most wondrous prayer, which covers all time and 
reaches into an eternity both past and future, by en- 
treating that all those whom God had given him, 
should finally be admitted to behold that glorious ex- 
altation which he was to receive in the heavens, " for 
thou," said he, " lovedst me before the foundation of 
the world," and though the world knew not God and 
had rejected Christ, yet these disciples had acknowl- 
edged his Divine mission, and to them he had de- 
clared and would still declare the name of the Father, 
in order that his love might be extended to them also 
— " that the love wherewith thou hast loved me," said 
he, "may be in them, and" closing with the key- 
note, he adds, "I in them," that Christ himself might 
be in his people by his indwelling Spirit, constituting 
one glorious spiritual body, participating alike in all 
its members of that everlasting life and blessedness 
which proceeds through him alone. 

It will be evident now, that the leading and en- 

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grossing thought in this prayer is unity; and that it 
distinctly indicates the means by which this unity 
was to be attained. It was not to be a "unity," 
much less a union, of disciples alone, in the false 
sense usually attached to it. It was a unity proceed- 
ing from and embracing Christ and the Father. It 
was to be effected by the presence of Christ in his 
people, as the Father was present in Christ — " I in 
them and thou in me, that they may be one in us — 
that they may be made perfect in (ice) one " — in be- 
coming one, for " he that is joined unto the Lord," says 
Paul, "is one Spirit," I Cor. vi: 17. The nature and 
the source of this unity, then, is plain — Christ dwells 
in his people by his word and his Spirit. "Ye are 
not under the flesh, but under the Spirit," says the 
apostle, "if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. 
Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is 
none of his," Rom. viii : 9. " Because ye are sons, 
God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your 
hearts, crying Abba, Father," Gal. iv: 6. Thus was 
realized, during the Apostolic ministry, the declara- 
tion of Christ to his disciples, John xiv: 20: "At 
that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and 
ye in me, and I in you." For the " day" to which he 
here refers is the . period when he promised to send 
them "another Paraclete " He had himself, thus far, 
been their Paraclete, their Helper, their Advocate, 
their Comforter, but in a little while the world should 
see him no more. He would not, however, leave the 
disciples desolate in the world. He would send them 
another Paraclete — he would even himself come to 

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them, by his Spirit, to abide with them forever. 
They should then realize that Divine unity of which 
he had spoken, as well as the full meaning of his 
promise, " If a man love me he will keep my words, 
and my Father will love him, and we will come and 
make our abode with him," John xiv : 23. " Hereby 
know we," says John, " that we dwell in him and he 
in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit," 1 John 
iv: 13. It was hence "expedient" that Christ's per- 
sonal presence in the flesh should be withdrawn — 
that the disciples should know him no more " after 
the flesh," in order that upon the completion of his 
redemptive work, there might be consummated by 
the Paraclete that Divine, spiritual, and glorious 
unity which was the ultimate purpose of the gospel 

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Christ's Prayer not for " Christian union " — First Disciples already 
united — Difficulties — Distinction between union and unity — 
Unity, the " unity of the Spirit" — How maintained and lost — A 
Divine gift — World not to be converted by union but by unity— 
This a constant result — The Divine promises. 

IT will be seen that the view just given of Christ's 
prayer (John xvii) is quite different from the one 
commonly entertained. From the manner in which 
it is quoted and referred to, it is evident that it is 
generally considered to be mainly in behalf of what 
is called " Christian union," and that this "union" is 
furthermore supposed to be a matter yet in the 
future, so that the prayer, in its chief petition, is 
thought to have remained heretofore unanswered. 
It is accordingly expedient to examine this notion 
more particularly, in order that its incorrectness and 
superficiality may be fully apparent, and that the 
actual truth may find access to the mind. For it is 
the chief hinderance to progress in religious knowl- 
edge that error has preoccupied the ground, and 
that before any thing can be learned, much must be 
unlearned. The latter, indeed, is by far the more 
difficult task, since human opinions, theories, and 
dogmas have so filled the minds of men, that there 

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is no longer room for truths derived directly from 
the Scriptures, and it is necessary to overcome that 
pride of consistency, those prejudices of education 
and that false reliance upon human authority, by 
which all approaches are defended, before the Word 
of God can even claim admittance. 

Let us, then, here briefly consider certain difficul- 
ties which at once arise upon the supposition that 
the popular view of this prayer is correct, and that it 
is mainly on behalf of a visible union among believers. 
If this be true, it follows that this solemn and special 
prayer was offered for that of which the first disciples 
were already in possession. It is well known that 
the personal followers of Christ were united, and that 
they formed one harmonious and unbroken band, in 
perfect concord with each other. But as prayer is 
always made for that of which persons are destitute, 
and these disciples already enjoyed " Christian union," 
this could not constitute the subject-matter of Christ's 
petition. Again, as it is related to those 'who should 
believe on him through their word;' if it be urged 
that it was in consequence of this prayer that they 
also formed one religious community and maintained 
" Christian union," until long after the close of the 
apostolic ministry, the inquiry may be justly made 
why this union was not perpetuated? and why this 
prayer has failed to be answered in the case of those 
who for sixteen centuries have also believed through 
the apostles teaching? Christ said on one occasion 
to the Father: "I know that thou hearest me 
always." Is it to be supposed that his prayer for 



"Christian union" has been unheard and unanswered 
for sixteen hundred years, and that its fulfillment is 
yet postponed to some indefinite future period? 

But further. We find in this prayer these several 
petitions. I. That he himself might be glorified in 
heaven. 2. That his personal followers might be 
"kept" so as to be "one" as Christ and the Father 
were one. 3. That they might be "kept from the 
Evil One." 4. That they might be sanctified through 
the truth. 5. That all future believers should like- 
wise be "one," and 6. That all who were given to 
Christ might be with him to behold the glory to 
which the Father had destined him. It will be ad- 
mitted that the first petition was granted, and that 
Christ was glorified "with the glory which he had 
with the Father before the world was." The second 
also, the third and the fourth are conceded as ful- 
filled in the primitive disciples. Even of the sixth, it 
may be affirmed that it has been constantly in process 
of accomplishment, since all the saints who have 
fallen asleep have departed " to be with Christ ;" but if 
in its full sense deferred, it is simply because the time 
appointed for the resurrection and glorification of 
the saints has not yet arrived. Now thes§ things 
being so, on what principle of interpretation or of 
consistency can it be maintained that the fifth peti- 
tion, viz., that believers through the apostles' word 
might be "one," has remained unanswered during 
nearly all the Christian centuries, and is still to be 
unheard until some indefinite time in the dim and 
distant future ? When the other petitions are evi- 

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dently granted, why is this particular one to be 
singled out as yet unheard, when its purport is really 
the same as that of the second, and the blessing for 
which it pleads was certainly just as much needed 
by the disciples of the future, as that of the second 
was by those then present? The petition in each 
case was for " oneness." If this be merely union, can 
any good reason be assigned why it should be granted 
to the primitive disciples and denied to those who, 
through the intervening centuries, have believed on 
Christ through the word of the apostles ? And can 
it be supposed that any sort of ecclesiastical, visible, 
or sentimental union to be effected in the future be- 
tween the numerous bodies professing Christianity 
can be at all the realization of the petition, "I in 
them and thou in me, that they may be one in us ?" 
It is indeed surprising that so palpable an error, 
arising probably from the textuary system of inter- 
pretation, should so long have remained undetected, 
and that the profound significance of our Lord's 
prayer for unity should be even yet hidden from the 
religious world, by the superficial theological figment 
that his petition was for a matter so inferior and 
subordinate as a " Christian union " among his peo- 
ple, to be visibly attained by some future combina- 
tion or conglomeration of religious parties! 

The prayer of Christ, let it be observed, was 
neither in form nor in substance a prayer for union* 
but for oneness. These are two different words and 
stand for two different things. They do not contain 
each other in their respective significations, neither 



do they imply each other, for we may have union 
without unity and even unity without union. Union 
is the mere joining together of two or more bodies 
in one. It implies a combination that is mani- 
fest or may be made manifest, but unity denotes an 
invisible oneness; so that there may be a visible 
union, but not a visible unity. Union involves 
neither similarity of structure nor identity of nature, 
for the most anomalous and incongruous materials 
may be joined or mingled, and the most opposite 
things may be united, as, for instance, in man, the 
flesh and the spirit which are "contrary the one to 
the other." But " oneness " supposes, so far as it ex- 
tends, homogeneity, similarity, congruity, singleness, 
a common pervading principle or nature, or a mutual 
adaptation and arrangement of parts "for some special 
and common purpose. Mere union, hence, does not 
establish unity, nor does unity imply union. Gold 
is one thing, and maintains its oneness, however 
minute the particles into which it may be divided. 
It is not one, because all gold is or may be fused 
into one mass, but because the properties of each 
particle are similar. It is thus that in a religious 
point of view, unity implies a common nature or joint 
relation, arising from a joint participation of the 
Holy Spirit, imparting to each individual similar dis- 
positions, feelings, and purposes. Mere union may 
arise from very dissimilar causes. An individual ' 
may unite with a church on account of some agree- 
ment in opinion, or from motives of convenience or 
of policy. Churches may unite with each other for 



the sake of popularity or power, but such unions 
have nothing to do with unity either as a cause or as 
a consequence. On the other hand, unity may exist, 
while visible union either congregational or denom- 
inational may be wholly absent, on account of dis- 
tance, difference of language and other circumstances. 
Visible union, in short, is never to be mistaken foi 
that spiritual unity which by the tie of a common 
birth from above, a heavenly parentage, a common 
nature, necessarily establishes a oneness which, while 
it exists quite independently of external or visible 
union, nevertheless fails not to secure this, whenever 
intervening obstacles are removed and natural at- 
tractions and affinities are permitted to exert their 
power. Union will hence inevitably follow where 
Christians dwell together in any particular locality, 
and union among Christians is certainly enjoined in 
Scripture. " I beseech you," says Paul to the Corin- 
thians, " that ye all speak the same thing and that 
there be no divisions among you." In deprecating 
division, the apostle urges union, and believers who 
are " taught of God to love one another " will nat- 
urally be drawn together into visible associations, 
and the more especially, since religious ordinances as 
well as the duties which they owe to each other 
demand organization, co-operation, and public as- 
semblies. Such things, however, are so far from 
constituting Christian unity or producing it, that 
they are merely results of that oneness with Christ 
and with the Father for which the Saviour prayed, 
and which, as a differential attribute of the individual 



Christian, can alone render true Christian union 

Christian unity is expressly designated by the 
apostle as " the unity of the Spirit," Eph. iv : 3 ; 
" that is the unity wrought by the Spirit, too Ilveo/ia* 
T07 being the genitive of the originating cause," (El- 
licott in loco). In further illustration, Paul goes on 
to enumerate various points in which the existence 
of this "unity of the Spirit" might be recognized, 
as in the admitted fact that there was but "one 
body" — the whole community of Christians, and one 
Spirit which pervaded that body ; that all believers had 
been called in relation to " one hope," and that there 
was, moreover, " one Lord " acknowledged ; " one 
faith" professed ; "one baptism" received, which, in 
the case of each individual, was into the name of the 
three Divine manifestations, the Father, the Son, and 
the Holy Spirit ; " one God, the Father of all," who 
is "above all," and, by the indwelling Spirit, "through 
all and in all" it being by this essential means, to 
which the apostle thus finally recurs, that " unity" or 
"oneness" was established and maintained. It was 
the same Spirit, working in all, producing similar 
fruits of obedience in all, imparting to all the same 
Divine nature, creating in all similar fears and 
hopes, similar antipathies and sympathies, similar 
joys and sorrows ; developing in all the same quali- 
ties and attributes* of character, and constituting of 
the followers of Christ a "living epistle" to the 
world, which might be "known and read of all men," 
and which was " written, not with ink, but with the 

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Spirit of the Living God ; not in tables of stone, but 
in fleshly tables of the heart." 

This " unity of the Spirit," it may be here further 
observed, was to be kept " in the bond of peace," 
nothing being more unfavorable to it than those con* 
tentions, divisions, " wars, and fightings," which pro- 
ceed from the carnal nature, and which, alienating 
men from each other, alienate them also from God, 
so that, in an equal measure, they cease to enjoy that 
spiritual fellowship and oneness with the Father and 
the Son which was the burden of our Saviour's 
prayer. " Peace " is here beautifully represented as 
the bond, the cincture by which, or, as some think, 
the element in which, unity is to be maintained. So 
essential is it to this end, that it is frequently and 
earnestly enjoined in Scripture. " Live in peace, and 
the God of peace shall be with you," says Paul to the 
Corinthians. "Be at peace among yourselves," he 
entreats the Thessalonians. "Have salt in your- 
selves," said Christ to the disciples, " and have peace 
one with another." Peace, as intimately connected with 
purity (James iii : 17), is that state which is particularly 
conducive to the preservation of unity, and it is the one, 
therefore, which, in reference to this end, is especially 
to be cultivated. Whatever disturbs harmony among 
Christians, tends to destroy Christian unity. The 
bitter controversies and the bickerings of religious 
society, distract the mind, destroy love, generate dis- 
like, jealousy, revenge, foster the passions of the 
carnal nature, and tend to quench the " light of life." 
It is possible for men thus to lose that Divine gift 

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which alone gives unity, to " grieve the Holy Spirit " 
so that he will abandon his ungenial abode and leave 
the heart a prey to infidelity and worldly lusts. 

Men have it, hence, in their power to preserve or 
to destroy unity, but not to impart it. They may 
establish union, but not unity. Nothing, then, can 
be more incorrect than to mistake this prayer, as is 
constantly done, for a mere prayer for union. Nay, 
it is often quoted as if really addressed to Christians 
and as if it were an injunction to them to be united. 
It is said " Christians are commanded to be one." 
No, never. This were indeed an impossible obedi- 
ence. They are commanded to live in peace as a 
condition of the continuance of the Divine presence : 
to be of " one accord and one mind ; " to " stand fast 
in one Spirit," etc. All this it is in their power to 
do. They can be "at peace" among themselves, 
they can " live in peace," but it is not in their power 
to establish unity. This is the office of the Holy 
Spirit, and as God alone can give the Holy Spirit, 
Christ addresses his prayer to the Father that this 
unity may be so effected. He does not pray that the 
disciples might be induced to form a union with each 
other or with himself. This union already existed. 
He prays for that of which they were yet destitute, 
and which no mere union could supply — the " unity " 
of the Spirit — the "communion of the Holy Spirit," 
which they were afterward enjoined to preserve by 
" the bond of peace," and warned not to impair by 
contention and strife. While union, then, can never 
originate or constitute Christian unity, partyism and 

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dissension can do much to destroy it, for " where 
envy and strife is there is confusion and every evil 
work," incompatible with the spiritual presence of 
" the God of peace." We need not wonder, accord- 
ingly, at the earnestness of the apostles in entreat- 
ing the disciples that there should be no divisions 
among them, but that they should be "perfectly 
joined together in the same mind and in the same 
judgment," that there might be no schism in the 
body of Christ. " I beseech you," says Paul to the 
Romans, " mark them which cause divisions and of- 
fenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned 
and avoid them. For they that are such, serve not 
our Lord Jesus Christ but their own belly, and by 
good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of 
the simple." 

It is the expected result of the "oneness" for 
which Christ prayed, that the " world " would believe 
that the Father had sent him. They who imagine 
this " oneness " to be union, plead accordingly for 
Christian union on this ground, that it will result in 
the conversion of the world to Christianity. In this 
also, it is evident, they wholly misconceive the pur- 
pose of this prayer, and greatly err in attributing 
so grand and important an effect to a cause altogether 
inadequate. It is not indeed surprising that the 
pious, deploring the existing divisions of religious 
society, and mourning over the strife, the infidelity, 
and the waste of resources which these occasion, 
should have been led to exaggerate the value of mere 
union, and that they have become impressed with the 



idea that the healing of these divisions is all that is 
necessary to the triumph of the gospel. It is hence 
natural for them to adopt the superficial view that in 
Christ's prayer " Christian union " is designated as 
the means through which the world is ultimately to 
be convinced that the Father has sent him as a Sav- 
iour. It is a great mistake, however, to suppose that 
mere " union " could accomplish such a result, or that 
this result itself is a matter yet altogether in the future. 
It is unity alone which can effect this hereafter, as it 
is this alone which has accomplished it in the past, 
and it is therefore for unity that our Saviour prays : 
" That they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, 
and I in thee, that they also may be one in us." 
This is not an adjustment of differences, a xazdf/ua^ ; 
or a joining together, a mere xbXfojatz ; but a £v6r>jc, 
a unity or oneness> which could be attained only by a 
joint participation of the Spirit, and forfeited only 
by his departure. 

If mere union and co-operation on the part of 
God's people could accomplish so great a matter as 
~ the universal spread of the gospel — the conversion 
of the entire world, this should have taken place at 
once in primitive times. For, as before intimated, 
the disciples were then united. They were Christ's 
"little flock," his "disciples," his "little children," 
his " friends " — they followed him, they were gathered 
together around him, they constituted the entire 
body of believers in the world, and continued, after 
Christ's death, to assemble themselves together, so 
that when the eventful day of Pentecost was fully 

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come, " they were all with one accord in one place." 
Here was union, but as yet not unity, for the " day" 
had now only just arrived when they were to know 
that Christ was in the Father, that they were in 
Christ, and Christ in them, through the fulfillment 
of his promise, " I will not leave you bereft, I will 
come to you," even in that "Spirit of Truth," which, 
said he, "shall be in you," John xiv: 17-20. 

While waiting for this promise, the mere union of 
these believers had apparently no influence in induc- 
ing men to believe in the mission of Christ. There 
seems to have been no effort for such a purpose. A 
belief in the gospel facts — in Christ for them, was 
not enough to inaugurate the ministry of the apostles. 
The purification of the heart by faith was but a prep- 
aration for the reception of the Holy Spirit, which, 
as Christ in them, imparted unity, and " power from 
on high." It was then that they were enabled to 
speak the word with boldness, to brave the threaten- 
ings and persecutions of their enemies, and "in much 
patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, in 
strifes, in imprisonments, in their lives, and in their 
deaths, to manifest the power of Christianity. It 
was " by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, 
by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by love unfeigned, 
by the word of truth, by the power of God," and by 
" the armor of righteousness," that the primitive Chris- 
tians spread the gospel through the ancient world, 
succeeded in overcoming idolatry and Judaism, and 
in inducing, at length, imperial Rome to profess faith 
in the mission of Jesus of Nazareth. Christ's peti- 

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tion had been heard. That oneness with God and 
Christ for which the Saviour prayed, had been granted. 
The church was "a habitation of God through the 
Spirit," and each member exhibiting " the fruits of the 
Spirit" in his daily life, the world, so far as it was 
impressed at all, became assured of Christ's Messiah- 
ship. Thus, from the day of Pentecost, from "that 
day" in which the disciples realized, in the joint par- 
ticipation of the Holy Spirit, that Christ was in 
them, the world began to believe that the Father had 
sent the Son to be the Saviour of men, and from that 
time to the present, just in proportion as the "fruits 
of the Spirit " have been manifested in the lives of 
Christians, in the same proportion has "the world" 
believed in Christianity. 

It is an entire mistake, accordingly, to suppose 
that the prayer of Christ has reference to any union 
of believers, to any conglomeration of sects, or any 
species of religious alliance, yet future, or that the 
belief in his mission which is referred to as certainly 
to be produced by the "oneness" spoken of, is a 
matter still in the future. Yet it is precisely this error 
under which religious society now labors, and which 
is constantly reiterated in sermons, in pleas and 
prayers for Christian union, in printed essays, tracts, 
and volumes. It is surprising how generally this 
superficial and false view of the prayer of Christ pre- 
vails, and what vain expectations are entertained of 
both the possibility and the efficacy of a general or 
universal religious and ecclesiastical "union" among 
believers. It is only as they individually possess one- 



ness with Christ, and exhibit that oneness in a holy 
life, and in unceasing efforts for the salvation of men, 
that the " world " will be converted — a result which 
has been in progress from the day of Pentecost until 
now, and which will, in like manner, continue to be 
accomplished in the future. For the "world" is here 
spoken of distributively, and it was as true in the 
days of Paul that Christ was " believed on in the 
world," as it was that he was "preached unto the 
Gentiles," or that he had been "received up into 
glory." * 

* That I have not misstated or exaggerated the prevailing, if not 
universal, error in relation to the portion of Scripture here considered, 
will be apparent to all who are familiar with the language of the con- 
stantly reiterated plea for Christian union. It is this passage that is 
the inevitable quotation ahvays. It is in most cases the only passage 
referred to, as if the subject of Christian union was nowhere else 
spoken of in the New Testament, or as if the language here was 
more authoritative or clear and cogent than elsewhere. Furthermore, 
it always receives an application to the future, it being constantly 
taken for granted that the " union" wished for has not yet occurred. 
Universally, it is the per contra to the existing divisions in the religious 
world, and is applied to some hoped for organic union yet to come, 
while the profound meaning of the passage and its perfect applica- 
bility to all ages of the chuich remain wholly overlooked. Christ's 
prayer that his people might be one with himself and the Father was 
answered, and has continued to be answered in every age since it was 
offered. True believers have always and every-where been " one," 
in the true sense of the expression — a sense infinitely superior to the 
superficial interpretation put upon it when it is regarded as relating 
to an organic, visible union. In the nature of things, a universal 
union of this kind is impossible. The conditions of humanity utterly 
preclude the possibility of any denominational or organic union 
among believers in this wide world, but the unity for which Christ 

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Another illustration of the difference between 
union and unity, as well as of the meaning of Chrises 
language in the prayer under consideration, may be 
found in the beautiful similitude which he used in 
his preliminary discourse to his disciples. " I am the 
vine, ,, said he, " ye are the branches ; he that abideth 

prayed is always, and has been always, not only possible but existent. 
It is the " communion of saints " — the " communion of the Holy 
Spirit," the "benediction" so often pronounced in Christian assem- 
blies without any proper conception of its meaning. 

Let me not be misunderstood as objecting to prayer for Christian 
union. This, so Car as it is attainable, is most desirable, and every 
effort should be made to break down the bigotry of denominationalism 
and the rancor of party spirit, and to bring the entire Christian com- 
munity into an earnest co-operation in good works. Neither is it to be 
understood that it is now improper to offer Christ's prayer for unity, 
and to ask that believers may be " one." This, truly, is a prayer 
greatly needed ; but let it be distinctly understood that this is a prayer 
for the Holy Spirit, and lei it not be perverted and misapplied to so 
inferior a matter, and one so improbable, if not impossible, as a future 
universal, organic, Christian union. 

It is undoubtedly true that existing divisions stand directly in the 
way of the Christian unity desired; for it is not to be expected that 
God will bestow his Holy Spirit upon those who are filled with the 
spirit of party, and whose energies are devoted to schemes of parry 
aggrandizement and ambition. The reformation hence needed is the 
overthrow of denominationalism, the emptying of the heart of the 
existing senseless and blind attachment to party names and party in- 
terests, in order that the true Spirit of the Gospel may be received. 
The envy and strife which have produced " confusion and every evil 
work," must be cast out, in order that the religious community may 
be prepared to receive the truth in its primitive simplicity, and to en- 
joy the presence and influence of the Comforter, who is " the Spirit 
of the Truth." Union and co-operation will doubtless follow, so far 
as circumstances admit, and "peace" will promote and perpetuate 
that " unity of the Spirit," which sectarianism has labored to destroy. 

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in me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much 
fruit, for without me ye can do nothing," John xv : 5. 
It was the vital unity of the branches with the vine, 
the abiding of the branches in the vine and the vine 
in them in all its mysterious life-giving power, that 
could alone insure the production of fruit. No in- 
tertwining or union between the branches themselves 
could accomplish this, or secure to them that life 
which proceeded only from the vine. "Abide in 
me," said Christ, therefore, " and I in you ; as the 
branch can not bear fruit of itself except it abide in 
the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me." In 
order to this " abiding," it was requisite that Christ's 
"words" should abide in the disciples, and that they 
should obey his teachings. "If ye keep my com- 
mandments," said he, "ye shall abide in my love, 
even as I have kept my Father's commandments and 
abide in his love." The already existing unity be- 
tween Christ and the Father was thus to be extended 
to the disciples. " If a man love me," said he again, 
"he will keep my words-; and my Father will love 
him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode 
with him." They received the Spirit when this pro- 
mise was fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, and by a 
continued obedience to the "words" of Christ en- 
joyed continually "the supply" of that Spirit, in 
order that they might produce fruit, through this 
abiding oneness. Hence, in the letter to the Philip- 
pians, chap, i, Paul expresses the earnest hope that 
through their prayer, and " the supply of the Spirit 
of Jesus Christ," the circumstances to which he re- 

6 4 


fers in verses 15 and 16, shall turn to his salvation, 
according to his earnest expectation and hope that 
he would in nothing be ashamed, but that with all 
boldness, as always, so then, Christ might be magni- 
fied in his body whether it should be by life or by 
death. The conditions above specified are plainly 
accordant with what Christ said to the disciples, 
John xiv: 15-23: "If ye love me keep my com- 
mandments, and I will pray the Father, and he will 
send you another Comforter, that he may abide with 
you forever, even the Spirit of Truth, whom the 
world can not receive. ,, 

It is worthy of special remark here that in the 
prayer of Christ the disciples are declared to possess 
the preparation needed for this gift. He had pre- 
viously said to them, " Now ye are clean through the 
word which I have spoken unto you," and in his 
prayer to the Father, he says : " I have given unto 
them the words which thou gavcst me, and they have 
received them, and have known surely that I came 
out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst 
send me." The means of preparation had been faith 
in the word of Christ, the belief in the great truth 
that Jesus was the Messiah — the Son of God ; under 
the influence of which they had been obedient, had 
forsaken all and followed Christ. Having their hearts 
thus purified by faith, they were ready to receive that 
Divine presence which was to abide with them for- 
ever. This promise, then, though conditional, faith 
and obedience being necessary prerequisites, was not, 
as some falsely think, a change in their own "dispo- 

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sitions," a mere logical or natural result of " words/' 
a necessary consequence of obedience. The disciples 
possessed all these, as well as union with each other, 
yet they remained still destitute of that " oneness 99 
for which Christ earnestly prayed. Christ was not 
yet in them, as the Father was in Christ, nor were 
they yet "one," as were the Father and the Son, 
through an " eternal Spirit." As yet they were merely 
prepared for this Divine gift in ceasing to be " of the 
world," since no one who was of the world, that is 
an unbeliever, could receive it. Christ says of them, 
in his petition, " They are not of the world, even as 
I am not of the world." In receiving the word of 
Christ they had ceased to be of the world, and the 
world hated them on this account. It was impos- 
sible, therefore, that the world could jointly partici- 
pate with them in that "oneness " imparted by the 
Spirit. That which is pure must be received into a 
pure vessel. The Holy Spirit could not take up his 
abode in an unholy heart. Hence the import of 
Christ's saying : " Now ye are clean through the word 
which I have spoken unto you." They had been 
thus, by the sanctifying power of the truth, pre- 
pared for the reception of the Holy Spirit. They 
had been in heart separated from that world whose 
friendship was " enmity against God." Paul, accord- 
ingly, thus quotes to the Corinthians, at a later period, 
the spirit of the promise : " Come out from among 
them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch 
not the unclean, and I will receive you, and will be a 
Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and 

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daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." " What con- 
cord/' he had asked, " hath Christ with Belial, or 
what part hath he that believeth with an infidel ? and 
what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? 
For ye are the temple of the living God, as God hath 
said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I 
will be their God, and they shall be my people." 
" Having, therefore, these promises," adds the apostle, 
"let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the 
flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of 
God," 2 Cor. vi : 16, 18; vii : i. It is here also that 
may be quoted a parallel passage from another apostle, 
where, in connection with "the things pertaining to 
life and godliness," these "great and precious prom- 
ises" are referred to as given "that you might be 
partakers of the Divine nature, having escaped the 
corruptions that are in the world through lust," 2 
Peter i : 4. 

And oh, how great and how precious are these 
promises ! How incomprehensible the love, mercy, 
and condescension of God, thus to make his abode in 
human hearts ! How mysterious the "communion of 
the Holy Spirit," his impartation of strength to the 
inner man, his intercession for the saints ! How great, 
amid the toils and conflicts of life, the blessedness of 
that reign of heaven within the soul which is "right- 
eousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit!" How 
vain the pleasures of sense, the glories and ambitions 
of the world, compared with " the things which God 
has prepared for them that love him!" "He that 
spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us 

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6 7 

all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all 
things ? " And among these, is that "renewing of the 
Holy Spirit" which he shed on us richly through 
Jesus Christ our Saviour, that being justified by his 
grace we should be made heirs according to the hope 
of eternal life." It is this spiritual presence which 
imparts and maintains unity with Christ, and brings 
forth in the Christian the fruits by which God is glo- 
rified, so that while on the one hand "the fullness 
(nAypcD/ia) of the Godhead bodily" dwells in Christ, on 
the other, it is the church which, as complete in 
Christ, becomes " the fullness (the nXijpwfjLa) of him 
that filleth all in all." 

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Objections of Materialists — Matter and spirit differ in nature — Original 
facts undemonstrable — Demoniac possessions — Satanic power — 
The indwelling of the Spirit — Distinguishable from an incarna- 
tion — From the Divine omnipresence — The term Guest inappro- 
priate — The Spirit not to be confounded with the word. 

THERE are not a few materialists and skeptics 
of the sensuistic school, and some who even 
profess a form of Christianity, who doubt or deny 
the possibility and reality of the gift of the Holy 
Spirit. With these reasoners, every thing must be 
subordinated to the forms of the mere logician, and 
they refuse credence to any thing which they are un- 
able to verify by sensible perception or to compre- 
hend by feeble reason. How, they ask, can the 
Divine Spirit dwell literally in human beings? How 
can he be present at the same time in each member 
of the church? Or, if really present, why is not 
this presence realized in sensible evidences or in 
miraculous powers as claimed for the early ages of 
the church? 

As spiritual blessings come through faith and not 
by human philosophy, natural, intellectual, or moral, 
it were useless to enter upon any serious discussion 

with objectors whose narrow premises admit only a 

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certain class of facts, and who willfully close "the 
eyes of their understanding" against every ray of 
light which emanates from the spiritual system. 
These materialists, in their gross conceptions, fail to 
make just discriminations, and leave altogether out 
of view the essential fact that spirit is quite different 
from body, and not subject to the laws which govern 
material things. "A' spirit hath not flesh and bones 
as ye see me have," said Jesus. A spirit must hence 
be conceived of as an intelligent entity or being, 
wholly distinct from material organization, and, 
though capable of association or connection with 
such an organization, just as capable of separation 
from it, having in itself a nature, different, independ- 
ent, and peculiar. So very different, indeed, is this 
nature, that while spirit may and does readily con- 
nect itself with that which is material, and dwell in 
the realm of nature, it is impossible for flesh and 
blood to inherit the kingdom of God. The material 
frame can not dwell within the realm of the spiritual 
kingdom, but must be raised a "spiritual body," or 
changed at the sound of the last trump into that 
which is altogether different, and alone fitted for the 
realms of light. How absurd, then, it is for men to 
apply to spirit those ideas of space and time, and 
those qualities of things with which they have be- 
come acquainted through sensible perception ! How 
presumptuous to decide dogmatically what may be, 
or what may not be, within the natural capacity of a 
spiritual being of which so little can now be known ! 
How mysterious and incomprehensible the mode in 

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which the human spirit dwells in the body, imparting 
to it harmony, unity, and power, and not only con- 
trolling its own material abode, but possessing also 
the wondrous power of self-superintendence ; yet it- 
self, meanwhile, wholly secure from all sensible ob- 
servation and revealing itself only in its workings ! 
Nay, how impossible it would be for materialistic 
objectors to furnish a clear exposition of the nature 
even of matter, apart from its properties ! How 
utterly unable would they be to give an explanation 
or cognition of the essential nature of matter, such 
as they absurdly ask in regard to spirit ! * Socinian 
rationalists and skeptical sciolists have yet to learn 
that the original facts in regard to matter as well as 
in relation to spirit must be taken upon trusty and 
that they are both, in the widest sense, to be recog- 
nized as revelations. Wonderful and vast as are the 
powers conferred on man, it becomes him, at a certain 
stage of his investigations, to confess himself an 
ignorant and a finite being, and to repose in humility 

*" Every how (didn)," well remarks Sir William Hamilton, "rests 
ultimately upon a that ( f 6n); every demonstration is deduced from 
something given and undemonstrable ; all that is comprehensible 
hangs upon some revealed fact which we must believe as actual, but 
can not construe to the reflective intellect in its possibility. In consci- 
ousness, — in the original spontaneity of intelligence (vovr, locus prin- 
cipiorum), are revealed the primordial facts of our intelligent nature. 
Consciousness is the fountain of all comprehensibility and illustration ; 
but as such, can not be itself illustrated or comprehended. To ask how 
any fact of consciousness is possible, is to ask, how consciousness 
itself is possible ; and to ask how consciousness is possible, is to ask 
how a being intelligent like man is possible." 



and reverence upon the truths made known to him, 
through various channels, by the Infinite Intelli- 

It is, certainly, not without a design to afford to 
"men in the flesh," a certain degree of enlighten- 
ment as to the capacities and habitudes of spiritual 
beings, that the Bible presents to us, -as no other 
volume does, detailed accounts of the doings of super- 
natural visitants. Especially, is the record of those 
demoniacal possessions which were permitted at the 
introduction of Christianity, calculated to reveal the 
wondrous facility possessed by spiritual beings , to 
enter into and take possession of animal bodies. 
There is not, indeed, the slightest hint of any diffi- 
culty or obstruction here, unless what arises from the 
inhibition of Divine power, or, in man, from the re- 
sistance of the will. The unclean spirit could say, 
"I will return to my house." He could take with 
him seven other spirits, and all could enter in and 
dwell there. Seven demons could dwell together in 
Mary Magdalen, and a legion of them in another in- 
dividual, from whom Christ elicited that remarkable 
reply, (both elicited and recorded for special reasons,) 
"My name is Legion, for we are many." How 
utterly incapable here seems to be the grammatical 
language of earth, how futile human logic or science, 
to convey any comprehensible ideas of the real nat- 
ure and mysterious powers of the inhabitants of the 
spirit-world! What a strange petition and singular 
permission to enter into the herd of swine! What a 
clear and omnipotent Divine command to the dumb 

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and deaf spirit r " I charge thee come out of him and 
enter no more into him !" * What evident possibili- 
ties of spiritual inhabitation do these facts unfold, 
and how constantly is man's susceptibility to unseen 
spiritual agency manifested in every age by the 
Satanic influences operating upon human hearts, in 
evil thoughts suggested, unholy passions awakened, 
or motives perverted and debased ! He who sought 
to have the primitive disciples in his power that he 
"might sift them as wheat;" he who entered into 
Judas to nerve him for the betrayal of the innocent ; 
he who put it into the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira 
to lie to the Holy Spirit, still knows how to maintain 
his control over the children of disobedience, and is 

* Mark ix. 25. Some of our materialistic doctors who affect great 
reverence for " the word," while denying its plainest teachings, ought 
certainly to furnish a proper explanation of these curious facts, fortified 
by arguments of extreme solidity. The case of Ahab's 400 prophets 
all inspired by one lying spirit would seem to show the diffusibility of 
spiritual natures, but they may perhaps endeavor to prove it merely an 
instance of the extreme moral extensibility which appertains to men- 
dacity. As a sort of preliminary to their profound investigations into 
the Etiology and special Pathology of demoniacal indwellings, it might 
not be inappropriate for them to explain the singular fact with which 
they must be familiar in physics, that one gas acts as a vacuum to 
another, so that when a given space is already occupied by one, others 
may be diffused in the same space, each in as great a quantity, as if 
that space were wholly unoccupied. It would probably be well for 
these materialistic philosphers to direct their attention to this physical 
fact, before they attempt the elucidation of the higher problems of the 
spiritual system. Indeed one would think it difficult to find a subject 
better adapted to the genius of these wordy philosophers than the dif- 
fusion and especially the effusion of gases. 



never more successful than when he can persuade 
them that he has himself no real existence. It is in 
view, indeed, of the most obvious facts of human ex- 
perience, that man should tremble at his feebleness 
and earnestly seek, amidst the perils which surround 
him from unseen spiritual foes, the countervailing aid 
of that Divine Presence which 'strengthens with 
might the inner man* and sustains the soul against 
the power of the Enemy. Happy the wise and « 
thoughtful ones, who, realizing how little man can 
know of that mysterious world into which he shall 
one day enter, and of the real nature of the difficul- 
ties and snares which beset his earthly pathway, 
cherish the more the precious revelations afforded 
them by an infallible Teacher, and rest in humble 
faith upon the Divine promises ! 

It is surprising, indeed, that intelligent persons 
should have any difficulty in fully accepting the Script- 
ure teaching in regard to spiritual indwelling. The 
association of a spirit with a material organization is 
one of the most familiar facts in nature. We see it 
verified every-where around us. Each one experi- 
ences it in himself. It is strange that the doctrine 
of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer 
should, nevertheless, at once excite ideas of wonder, 
of miracle, or of some sensuous impression or mani- 
festation. What evidence is there to show that such 
an indwelling is not perfectly harmonious with all we 
know of the relations established between matter 
and spirit ? How naturally and gently, so to speak, 
does the human spirit dwell in the body ! Diverse 

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as body and spirit are in nature, how sweetly are 
they blended into one being, acting and reacting upon 
each other in a pleasing companionship! How 
quickly and with what facility does the human spirit 
resume its functions when these are temporarily sus- 
pended by repose, accident or disease ! How perfect 
its control over the bodily mechanism to a certain 
extent, and yet how strictly it observes those bound- 
aries which separate its realm from that of the mere 
organic life ! Again, self-poised and independent, how 
it contemplates calmly its own nature and that of its 
abode, and pursues' its. own cogitations as though 
wholly disconnected with any material organization ! 
In these cases, indeed, we see but its capacity to in- 
habit and to exert its powers in such an organization, 
so far as vital laws permit, but even when separated, 
the possibility of its return is shown, as in the case 
of Jairus* daughter when, at the command of Jesus, 
" her spirit came again," or in that of Lazarus when, 
after a four days absence, it at once regained its 
powers. Nothing, indeed, attributed in Scripture to 
that mysterious nature — the human soul, over which 
men can exert no power though they may kill the 
body, can be at all regarded as contrary to human 
experience, however far the revelations may advance 
beyond the region within which human science is 
confined, and no one has a right to deprive these 
revelations of their meaning and force, in order to 
reduce them to a level with human ignorance. 
However mysterious and inscrutable the facts pre- 
sented to us upon this subject, one conclusion at 



least may safely be drawn, that if the human spirit 
and malignant spirits may, with such facility, enter 
and re-enter into the human organism, and there 
exert their influence and control, certainly there is 
no room for doubt but that the Good Spirit of God 
can find a ready access to the hearts of his people. 

We may not affirm, however, that the indwelling 
of the Holy Spirit in the believer, does not differ in 
various respects from lhat of the human spirit in 
the human body. It is true that the latter is rep- 
resented as a " tabernacle " in which the soul or im- 
material principle resides, or as a "vesture" with 
which it is clothed, but these metaphors do not ex- 
press the whole of the literal fact or exhibit that 
actual union, that natural and connate interdepend- 
ence arid affiliation which exist between soul and 
body, as God has of them constituted one sentient 
and rational being. On the other hand, the body is 
termed the temple of the Holy Spirit, and his pres- 
ence is expressed by various terms signifying to 
"remain," to "inhabit," to "dwell." He is im- 
parted, however, as a gift, superadded to the natu- 
ral and ordinary spiritual nature of man, as a Divine 
Helper and present Intercessor. There is not here 
union, as in the case of the body and the human 
spirit, but commtmion. There is not constraint, but 
freedom. There is riot an alliance, absolute and 
necessary, but relative and contingent. 

The indwelling of the Spirit is hence to be dis- 
tinguished from an incarnation or manifestation of 
God in the flesh, such as existed in the person of 

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7 6 


Jesus of Nazareth. Here the entire and perfect 
human nature, consisting of body, soul, and spirit, 
became united with the Divine nature, constituting 
one person, perfect both as to his humanity and his 
Divinity — one with man as the Son of man, and one 
with the Father as the Son of God. The "Word 
that was in the beginning with God and that was 
God" was here "made flesh, ,, and was found "in 
fashion as a man." This was the second man cre- 
ated such by an immediate exercise of Divine power. 
The first was formed directly from the earth ; the 
second was " made of a woman," as to his humanity, 
but as to his Divine nature, was "the Lord from 
heaven." In the first creation, woman was taken 
out of man ; in the second, man, by direct Divine 
power, from woman. That which had been last was 
made first, and the first, last. "A virgin shall con- 
ceive and bear a son," said the Prophet, "and thou 
shalt call his name Immanuel." Here the Divine 
and human natures were united. In the first Adam, 
the Divine image was impressed upon humanity ; 
in the second, the human nature was added to the 
Divine. In the first, that which was earthly and 
human, became chief and distinctive ; in the second, 
that which was Divine predominated, for "in Him 
dwelt all the fullness of the godhead bodily" — in 
bodily form. This mysterious union of humanity 
with Deity was complete in Jesus before he received 
the gift of the Holy Spirit at his baptism. It was 
as the Son of God that he received this gift, just as 
believers become, in regeneration, the adopted chil- 



dren of God, and receive afterward the gift of the 
Holy Spirit. " Because ye are sons," says Paul to 
the Galatians, " God hath sent the Spirit of his Son 
into your hearts," iv : 6. The gift or indwelling of 
the Holy Spirit is hence quite different and distin- 
guishable from any union of the human and Divine 
natures, whether this be actual or potential, absolute 
or relative. The Word was made flesh, and, in an 
analogy sufficiently obvious, we are told that God 
begets his children " by the word of truth " — by that 
word which is " Spirit and life," that " incorruptible 
seed of the word, which liveth and abideth forever," 
and which, received into the heart, becomes, as it 
were, clothed with that humanity through which it 
manifests itself. It is after individuals become, 
through faith, the adopted children of God, and 
because they " are sons," that God sends " the Spirit 
of his Son " into their hearts whereby they are en- 
abled fully to realize this relationship, and, in filial 
love, to cry, "Abba, Father." Hence Paul says to 
the Romans, "The Spirit itself beareth witness 
with our spirit, that we are the children of God," 
viii : 1 6. 

This indwelling of the Spirit, again, is to be dis- 
tinguished from what is called the "omnipresence" 
of God. In a certain sense, the presence of the In- 
finite One is every-where. " Whither shall I go 
from thy Spirit?" asks the Psalmist, "or whither 
shall I flee from thy presence ? If I ascend up into 
heaven, thou art there ; if I make my bed in hell, 
behold thou art there." Ps. clxxxix : 7, 8. As Cre- 

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ator, Upholder, and Preserver of all things, he per- 
vades the universe, and " in him we live and move 
and have our being." In this sense, he is equally 
present with all beings good and evil, with matter 
and spirit, with things animate and inanimate ; sus- 
taining all, maintaining the order of nature, exercis- 
ing supervision and government over all. Here he 
may be conceived as present with, and in, the organ- 
ism of nature, and, in a special sense, he may be also 
regarded as present every-where by his Providence, 
in which he so directs the operations of nature as to 
supply special wants or to accomplish the purposes 
of moral government. The elements of material 
nature, or its secret forces, he may cause to form 
the malaria of disease or the contagion of the pesti- 
lence. The stormy wind, the waves of the sea, the 
flames of fire, may become his ministers and fulfill 
his commands. " The young lions do roar and seek 
their meat from God." " He watereth the hills from 
his chambers." "He causeth the grass to grow for 
the cattle and herb for the service of man, that he 
may bring good out of the earth." What he gives, 
they gather. When he opens his hand, they are 
" filled with good ; " when he hides his face, " they 
are troubled." All living things wait upon him, 
that he may " give them their meat in due season." 
Without him, not a sparrow falleth to the ground, 
and he guideth the affairs of men and nations so 
that his purposes are accomplished in their pun- 
ishment or their deliverance, and he becomes the 
avenger of the injured and " the Savior of all men," 



through the innumerable instrumentalities ever at 
his disposal. 

All' this, however, is quite distinct from the in* 
dwelling of the Holy Spirit. It was in a special and 
peculiar sense that Jesus said of the man who would 
keep his words : " My Father will love him, and we 
will come unto him and make our abode with him/' 
It was as a distinct manifestation of God, that the 
Paraclete was imparted to believers. It was the 
Holy Spirit who now came to dwell on earth in 
human hearts as a Divine and confirmatory seal of 
faith, and an earnest or pledge in kind of that spirit- 
ual inheritance which was to be the eternal possession 
of the righteous. It was Christ in men, bringing 
forth in them the fruitage of goodness, righteousness 
and truth, exhibiting the glory of the Divine character 
and securing for them an everlasting blessedness. 
It was a gift — a manifestation of the Divine presence, 
peculiar to the gospel dispensation, confined entirely 
to believers, and specially appertaining to that final 
and complete development of the mysteries of re- 
demption which the gospel alone presents. It is 
hence to be distinguished, also, from that special 
presence of God recognized in miracles. These were 
common to all dispensations, -revealing God in his 
power as Creator and Ruler, or in his wisdom as 
Counselor, Instructor, and prescient Monitor, accomp- 
lishing their purposes, equally through agencies 
rational or irrational, sentient or unconscious. But 
the Paraclete — the Holy Spirit of the Christian In- 
stitution — is God's missionary to men's hearts ; it is 

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God enthroned in man's moral nature, renewing and 
sanctifying the affections, and transforming humanity 
into the Divine image by the graces it imparts and 
through the "engrafted word" which it has introduced 
into the heart, and now ever preserves green in the 
memory and fruitful in the life. 

Before leaving the particular subject of the present 
chapter, it may be well to add a few words in relation 
to the propriety of the term "Guest," which some 
employ in relation to the Holy Spirit as dwelling in 
the believer. Christ says, (Rev. iii : 20,) " I stand at 
the door and knock ; if any man hear my voice and 
open the door, I will come in to him and will sup with 
him." This, if taken as referring to the Spirit, cer- 
tainly suggests the idea of a guest. What immedi- 
ately follows, however, "and he shall sup with me," 
reverses this, and presents him in the capacity of a 
host. Upon the whole, while, in a certain point of 
view, the term " Guest " might be allowable, it is not 
well to employ a word never so used in Scripture, 
and one which indicates a relation merely casual and 
transitory. This, as respects the Spirit and the be- 
liever, would not be accordant with fact, since his 
sojourn is permanent — "he shall abide with you for- 
ever" — a constant Guardian, Helper and Guide. It 
is the obsoleteness of the word " Ghost " in the com- 
mon version, which has evidently given rise to the 
substitution of " Guest." " Ghost " was a proper rep- 
resentative of nvvjfia when the common version was 
made. Since then, however, this word has, in com- 
mon use, been restricted to one of the meanings 

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which it has in common with 7rve5//a, viz., to a sup- 
posed apparition of a deceased person, and the ex- 
pression tends to convey a wrong idea to the minds 
of the uninstructed. Some have hence fallen into the 
habit of substituting "Guest" for "Ghost" as if it 
were an equivalent. But this is far from correct. 
" Guest " is from the Saxon gcest or gest t a guest, a 
man, a human being, being allied to the verb gan, 
gangan (whence the Scottish gang) to go. "Ghost," 
on the other hand, is from gast, the breath, a spirit etc., 
(whence the English gas, etc.), and though it be 
true that both these words may have probably the 
same radical sense, viz., to go, to move, to rush, they 
had nevertheless, at the period when the common 
version was made, acquired quite independent and 
different meanings, so that, of the two, "Ghost" alone 
was then a proper representative of the Greek nveu/ia, 
now correctly rendered Spirit in modern English. 

It may be proper to notice here also, a much more 
common error, where the indwelling of the Spirit is 
confounded with that of the word. Because Christ 
says of his words in a peculiar sense, as to their 
import and the results which proceed from them, that 
they are "spirit and life," and Paul exhorts Chris- 
tians to let " the word of Christ dwell in them richly," 
some have hastily adopted the conclusion that the 
indwelling of the Spirit is nothing more than the 
presence of the word in the mind or memory. These 
philosophers go on accordingly to attribute the entire 
results of Christianity, as evolved in the life, to the 
natural influence of "words and arguments" ad- 

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dressed to the intellect. They do not believe in any 
actual impartation of the Spirit as such, but the New 
Testament is with them tantamount to " the gift of 
the Holy Spirit." This view prevailed at one time 
to a considerable extent in the Church of England, 
both Bishop Heber and Bishop Warburton having 
entertained it, as well as a large number of the in- 
ferior clergy.* Stillingfleet, too, held with those just 
mentioned, that the promise of the Holy Spirit was 
fulfilled in the extraordinary gifts of the apostolic 
age, and that the New Testament, containing the 
result of these in the development and confirmation 
of the gospel, has been, since that period, equivalent 
to the presence of the Spirit. Unitarians, Socinians 
and Pelagians take substantially the same ground, 
though differing as to the inspiration of the Sacred 
Volume, and denying altogether the personal exist- 
ence of the Holy Spirit, which they regard as merely 
an "influence." 

It will not be necessary to enter here upon a formal 
examination of the doctrine that the word is the 
Spirit, or that the New Testament is the substitute 
for the Holy Spirit of apostolic times, since this en- 

* While Bishop Heber held this view of Revelation, he believed, at 
the same time, that a Divine influence was exerted upon men's minds 
apart from the Word. This he speaks of as a "holy energy," a 
"grace" necessary to "raise our affections beyond the narrow circle 
of mortality." This "grace" he regarded as not peculiar to the 
Christian Institution, but as vouchsafed to the Jews and in some 
measure even to the Heathen. {Hare's Mission of the Comforter, page 
304-6. Boston Ed.) 

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tire treatise has an immediate bearing on this ques- 
tion. It will be sufficient to say here, that while this 
notion is plausible from the partial truth which it con- 
tains, and flattering to human pride from the position 
and efficacy which it assigns to the mere rational and 
moral faculties of men, it is altogether incompatible 
with Scripture teaching and with the facts of history. 
That the New Testament furnishes an authentic and 
sufficient record of the supernatural revelations and 
attestations to the truth of the gospel which were 
given in the beginning, and that these miraculous 
manifestations ceased when their purpose was ac- 
complished is true. It is correct to say, therefore, 
that the New Testament replaces these, and that no 
such illuminations or miraculous demonstrations are 
now to be expected. It is to take, however, a most 
inadequate and superficial view of the office of the 
Holy Spirit and of Christ's promise of the Paraclete, 
to suppose these limited merely to the miraculous 
powers of the apostolic age. Miracles were then 
performed and revelations given by the Holy Spirit, 
as they had been during Christ's personal ministry, 
and in preceding ages, for special purposes, but were 
far from constituting the chief and prominent object 
of the mission of the Comforter. It should be re- 
membered that the disciples, to whom Christ gave 
the promise that he would send them another Com- 
forter, had already possessed and exercised miracu- 
lous powers, and had, moreover, already received the 
gospel presented to them in the teachings of Christ, 
and that they were, notwithstanding, entirely desti- 

8 4 


tute of that peculiar manifestation of the Spirit which 
was to be imparted only after the glorification of 
Christ, and in which he was to come to them and 
to continue with them to the end of the world. As 
Christ had been to the disciples a Comforter — a per- 
sonal Helper and Guardian, he promises to them 
another Comforter who should be, not with them 
merely, as he had been, but in them, and who was 
thus to abide with them forever. The word and the 
miraculous works of the Spirit were manifestations to 
the world \ but the promise of Christ was that he 
would manifest himself to the disciple differently, viz., 
by coming to him and making his abode with him. 
And this promise was based upon his keeping the 
words of Christ already communicated. To confound 
the word with the Spirit, is to assert that the world 
is capable of receiving the Spirit, in direct contradic- 
tion to the declaration of Christ, since the world can 
receive the gospel commanded to be preached to 
every creature. The word is indeed the instrument 
which the Spirit employs both in converting the 
world and in sanctifying saints, but it is a singular 
confusion of thought which mistakes the instrument 
for the agent, and leads men to the absurdity of mak- 
ing the word, the Spirit, or the author of the Spirit; 
while, at the same time, they speak of the Spirit as 
the author of the word ! 

Much of the rationalism and skepticism which 
exists, in relation to the indwelling of the Spirit, 
arises from the tendency which men have to demand 
positive definitions and palpable demonstrations in 

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regard to matters wholly beyond the provinces ol 
reason and sensation, and to refuse credence to every 
thing which may not be actually submitted to sensi- 
ble perception, or made plain to the ordinary under- 
standing. In their vain endeavors to express what 
God is, in forms of human speech, metaphysical theolo- 
gists presume to dogmatize and decide in regard to 
themes upon which the human mind should simply 
meditate in humble adoration. Sensuous religionists, 
on the other hand, soon learn to invest their gross 
conceptions in the habiliments of superstition, and 
the cherished -idol of the brain becomes the material 
image of the shrine. Their convictions must rest 
upon sensible impressions, and unless they can see 
and feel the evidences presented, they will not believe. 
The unimpassioned rationalist amuses himself with 
the notion that he has resolved all the mysteries of 
the Holy Spirit, when he has persuaded himself that 
this Spirit is merely a visible and tangible New 
Testament ; while the ardent sensuist imagines him- 
self to have realized the presence of the Spirit in 
some emotional excitement, some brilliant vision, or 
some audible revelation. Meanwhile, both agree to 
disregard and explain away the plainest teachings of 
the true Spirit of God in the Sacred Record ; and 
while , on the one hand, they rely upon human reason, 
and, on the other, seek for sensible proof, the gentle 
movements of the Comforter in keeping the heart 
and mind, and perfecting the fruits of the Christian 
life, are doubted and denied. In every age, sense 
has thus sought the victory over faith, and mere ex* 



ternal forms or corporeal ministries have superseded 
the unseen but beneficent workings of Divine grace. 

In regard to this whole subject of the Divine 
manifestations, the student of the Bible can not have 
failed to notice the marked distinction therein made 
as it speaks of the Father, the Son, or the Holy 
Spirit. The Father, the God of the universe, is rep- 
resented as in Heaven; as there "dwelling in the 
light which no man can approach unto," the blessed 
and only Potentate (duvdaryt;) whom no man hath 
seen or can see, and as forever surrounded with all 
the appropriate insignia of supreme dominion, or as 
revealing from heaven the majesty of his power. 
The Son, on the other hand is revealed as the Crea- 
tor of the worlds, as "the Angel of Jehovah " (Gen. 
xxii: ii, 12; xxxi: 11, 13, etc.,) as the Manifester 
and Revealer of God to men, having to them a special 
and peculiar relation. He is the Word made flesh, 
dwelling among men on earth, and thence exalted 
to the "right hand of the throne of the Majesty 
{jxiyakcoauvrjq:) in the heavens ;" the " Prince of the 
kings of earth ;" the " Image of the Invisible God 
the "Judge of quick and dead," etc. It is note- 
worthy, however, that the Spirit is not spoken of in 
any way which would lead the mind to connect with 
it the idea of fixed locality or circumscribed presence. 
On the contrary, what is said of the Spirit impresses 
the mind with the thought of a nature, diffusive, 
distributable, capable of exercising its powers any 
where and every-where, as one all-seeing and all- 
comprehending Intelligence and Omnipotent Energy. 

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"Uphold me," says David, "with thy Free Spirit." 
Again, "Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?" or 
"whither shall I flee from thy presence?" It is in 
harmony with the conception of such a nature, that 
the Spirit is understood as imparted in various meas- 
ures and for various purposes, in the different dis- 
pensations. Thus, " Moses," we are told, " gathered 
the seventy men of the elders of the people and set 
them round about the tabernacle, and the Lord came 
down in a cloud and spake unto him, and took of the 
spirit that was upon him and gave it unto the seventy 
elders ; and it came to pass that when the spirit rested 
upon them, they prophesied and did not cease. But 
there remained two of the men in the camp, and the 
spirit rested upon them, and they prophesied in the 
camp." Numb, xi : 24-26. Paul, again, in an analo- 
gous case, says : "All these worketh that one and self- 
same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." 
1 Cor. xii. Thus, the Spirit is represented as rest- 
ing upon men, and imparting to them supernatural 
powers; as dwelling in them, in various measures 
or degrees, and for various purposes, maintaining, 
nevertheless, its own mysterious unity, and establish- 
ing it likewise in regard to all who receive it in the 
particular sphere in which its influence is exerted. 


John's version of the Commission — Holy Spirit not given until after 
Christ's ascension — Election of Matthias not ratified — Advent of 
the Comforter — Its great importance — Completion of the redemp- 
tive work — The gift of the Holy Spirit literal and real. 

S seme think the Spirit was given to the 

Jr\ disciples prior to Christ's ascension, it will be 
proper here to consider the passage of Scripture on 
which this opinion is founded. It will be found in 
John xx : 21-23, and reads as follows: "Then said 
Jesus to them again, [the disciples, Thomas absent,] 
Peace be unto you. As my Father hath sent me, 
even so send I you. And when he had said this, he 
breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye 
the Holy Spirit. Whosoever sins ye remit, they are 
remitted unto them, and whosoever sins ye retain, 
they are retained/' 

This is evidently John's version of the Commission 
given to the apostles. Christ had besought the Father 
when he prayed that the unity or oneness which 
existed between him and the Father might be ex- 
tended to the disciples, (a prayer to be fulfilled, as 
I have shown, in the gift of the Holy Spirit.) "As 
thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I 
also sent them into the world." Accordingly, he here 


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8 9 

says : "As my Father hath sent me, so send I you," 
and with this he connects the injunction, "Receive ye 
the Holy Spirit." In Matthew, he is represented as 
saying, "Go ye, therefore," etc., and in Mark, "Go 
ye into all the world," etc., while in Matthew the 
presence of the Spirit is implied in " I am with you 
alway even unto the end of the world," and in the 
declaration in Luke, "Behold I send the promise of 
my Father upon you." So also the pardon of sin 
conferred in the gospel, expressed by John in "Who- 
soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them," 
is implied in the language of Matthew, " Disciple all 
nations," since discipleship involved pardon ; or in 
Mark by " He that believeth and is baptized shall be 
saved," or again differently in Luke, " That repent- 
ance and remission of sins "should be preached among 
all nations." On the other hand, the rejection of the 
impenitent announced by John in the words " Who- 
soever sins ye retain, they are retained," is thus stated 
by Mark, " He that believeth not shall be damned." 
It being thus evident that the passage above quoted 
from John, is simply his version of the apostolic Com- 
mission, the phraseology of the other evangelists must 
be taken in connection and in harmony. Probably 
none of them give the precise words employed by 
Christ when he gave and fully explained to them their 
mission. Each gives what appeared to him its pur- 
port or substance in brief, and the differences which 
appear, serve to reveal that individuality which existed 
in each case, and was allowed to mingle itself with 
the terms of the revelation given. It is the earnest 




and comprehensive John alone who, in his version of 
the commission, makes direct mention of the Holy 
Spirit — a subject on which he had dwelt so much 
more than all the rest in the previous part of his 
"Gospel." Matthew, however, as seen above, refers 
to it as the presence of Christ with the apostles in 
their mission, and Luke includes it as the "promise" 
of the Father which was to be sent upon them, 
adding the command that they should "tarry at Je- 
rusalem" until [thus] "endued with power from on 
high." In allowing the Evangelists thus to explain 
each other, the saying in John " Receive ye the Holy 
Spirit," can not be supposed to refer to the time at 
which it was spoken, but to the time at which, the 
Spirit was appointed to be given, this period being 
still governed by the condition already made known, 
" If I go not away, the Comforter will not come 
unto you," John xvi : 7. It should also be noted, that 
the time at which the commission was given, is not 
to be regarded as fixed by the order of the narrative 
in Matthew, Mark and John, but as being really indi- 
cated by Luke, and as occurring immediately before 
the ascension. Unless this period be assigned, the 
more unlikely view must be taken that the Commis- 
sion was given at different times, and, in the first 
case, in the absence of Thomas, one of the eleven.* 

* The neglect of strict chronological order in the simple narrations 
of the Evangelists is so obvious as scarcely to require mention. The 
mere order of narration is hence not to be unduly pressed in any case, 
and when we desire to arrange the facts in the proper order of sequence 



Apart from these considerations, however, the 
passage in John xx: 21-23 does not assert that the 

we are compelled to make considerable transposition. A strict chro- 
nological order was not specially sought by unpracticed writers who 
desired rather to give, in brief, the substance of those many-sided facts 
in the life of Christ, which, in the minds of each, connected themselves 
with each other, from a particular point of view. We have hence 
such an individuality in the testimony of each, that new light is thrown 
around the facts recorded, and a more complete revelation is given of 
the character and the work of Christ, while, at the same time, no ab- 
solute contrariety of statement is found to exist. It may well be sup- 
posed that John, for instance, desiring to record the Commission given 
by Christ, took advantage of the opportunity to introduce it while 
relating Christ's first interview with the disciples after the resurrection, 
it being regarded as immaterial to what particular period it was assigned 
between the resurrection and ascension. The same indifference as to 
the exact point of time, is shown in Matthew, where, from the order 
of narration, the Commission would seem to have been given on the 
mountain in Galilee where the chief portion of the brethren were 
assembled by the Lord's appointment. In Mark, on the other hand, 
where no mention is made of the assembly in Galilee, the Commission 
is represented as given to the eleven as they sat at meat very soon after 
the resurrection at Jerusalem. It is Luke alone, who, although omit- 
ting mention of the journey to Galilee, seems to indicate the time at 
which the Commission was actually given, since he connects it with 
the injunction to the disciples to " tarry at Jerusalem until they were 
endued with power from on high." It would appear, hence, that it 
was given after the return from Galilee, and toward the close of the 
forty days in which, as he says in Acts I, Christ * showed himself alive 
to the apostles by many infallible proofs,' and " speaking of the things 
concerning the kingdom of God, and being assembled together with 
them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, 
but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard 
of me." Immediately, after this, he adds that he led them out as far 
as to Bethany, from whence he ascended to heaven, thus making the 
Commission the last important official act of his earthly ministry; 


Holy Spirit was then given or received. Doubtless, 
the fact related that Christ, in uttering these words, 

*These points may be elucidated by enumerating the different appearances 
Inentioned after the resurrection. 

1st. To the Galilean women, Mary and others. 

2d. To the two disciples on the way to Emmaus. 

3d. To " the eleven " in the evening of the first day, Thomas 

4th. To the eleven, eight days after, when Thomas was convinced. 
5th. To seven disciples at the Sea of Tiberias. 
6th. To more than five hundred on the mountain in Galilee. 
7th. To James. 

8th. To those tarrying at Jerusalem after the visit to Galilee. 

After the appearance to Mary and to the disciples going to Emmaus, 
the next was to the assembled apostles formerly designated officially as 
*' the twelve," but now, since the defection of Judas, as " the eleven,'* 
an expression applied to them as a body and admitting of the tem- 
porary absence of one or two members without invalidating its current 
use. Paul, indeed, in 1 Cor. xv : 5 still adheres to the original desig- 
nation, and says "he was seen of the twelve." It seems, from John, 
that Thomas was certainly absent from the society of the apostles on 
this occasion, so that only ten were really present, and that it was on 
the next; appearance of Christ, eight days after, that Thomas was con- 
vinced. This period of eight days is explained by the fact that the 
days of unleavened bread, with their offerings, continuing until Friday 
and this day being succeeded by the Sabbath, the disciples would, as a 
matter of course, remain at Jerusalem until the first day of the week 
succeeding that of the resurrection. Immediately after this, the visit 
to Galilee seems to have taken place, where Christ appeared first to 
those fishing at the Sea of Tiberias and then to the entire body of dis- 
ciples convened upon the mountain. Subsequently, he appears spe- 
cially to James, (1 Cor. xv: 7,) perhaps to direct the return of the 
apostles to Jerusalem, where he again " assembled with them " during 
the remainder of the forty days, delivering the Commission at their 
close, immediately before his final departure, and enjoining them to 
remain at Jerusalem until the descent of the Spirit. 

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"breathed upon them," tends to convey the impres- 
sion that the Spirit was then communicated, though 
not necessarily so. For this may be justly regarded 
as an emblematic or prophetic act, probably with 
an analogical reference to the inbreathing of the 
"breath" or spirit of life into Adam, whose body 
God had just formed. Christ had now before him 
his spiritual body, the church, in its outward mani- 
festation in the world, and might well signify by this 
expressive act of breathing upon it, that it was to 
receive, in the Holy Spirit shortly to be imparted, 
that Divine life and power which would fit it for its 
mission. It was as yet as one of the forms seen by 
Ezekiel, "when the sinews and the flesh had come 
up upon them, but there was no breath in them," 
and when he was commanded to prophesy unto the 
wind, and say to the wind: "Come from the four 
winds, O breath, and breathe upon these . . . 
that they may live." Christ seems here to have im- 
pressively prefigured what was shortly to come to 
pass, thus continuing still to direct the attention of 
the apostles to that eventful moment when the king- 
dom of heaven should be formally established, and 
when they should be "endued with power from on 
high." Should any one, however, be disposed to 
regard the passage we have been considering as in- 
dicating at least an actual impartation of supernatu- 
ral spiritual discernment, as a special gift adapted to 
the existing circumstances of the disciples, this view 
would not conflict with the fact that the Holy Spirit 
himself was not given until Pentecost, inasmuch as 



supernatural powers of various kinds had, as shown 
above, repeatedly been given already, and were mat- 
ters quite distinct from the promise in question. 
Those who take this view, can find in Luke's decla- 
ration, " Then opened he their understanding that 
they might understand the Scriptures," and in Peter's 
application of the prophecies to Judas just before 
Pentecost (Acts i : 16-22), a plausible ground for 
their opinion, though it seems scarce proper to sup- 
pose immediate inspiration necessary to account for 
results which might have been but natural conse- 
quences of those teachings and explanations and 
applications of Scripture, which the disciples had re- 
ceived from Christ himself after his resurrection, 
during the forty days in which he was "speaking to 
them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of 
God." Acts i : 3 * 

* I subjoin Dean Alford's note on John xx : 22 : " To understand 
this verse as the outpouring of the Spirit, the fulfillment of the promise 
of the Comforter, is against all consistency, and most against John 
himself. See ch. xvi : 7, and ch. xx : 17. To understand it rightly, 
we have merely to recur to that great key to the meaning of so many 
dark passages of Scripture, the manifold and gradual unfolding of 
promise and prophecy in their fulfillment. The presence of the Lord 
among them now was a slight and temporary fulfillment of his prom- 
ise of returning to them, and so the imparting of the Spirit now was 
a symbol and .foretaste of that which they should receive at Pentecost; 
just as, to mount a step higher, that itself, in its present abiding with 
us, is but the first-fruits and pledge (Rom. viii : 23; 2 Cor. i : 22) of 
the fullness which we shall hereafter inherit. ' The relation of this 
saying to the effusion of the Spirit is the same which ch. iii bears to 
Baptism; ch. vi, to the Lord's Supper; ch. xvii; I, to the Ascension/ 



With far more probability, however, is it supposed 
by many that Peter's course on that occasion was 
dictated by that forward zeal characteristic of him, 
and that it was not sanctioned by Divine authority. 
The determination of the choice of an apostle by the 
Jewish custom of casting the lot, indicates clearly 
that the disciples did not then possess the Holy 
Spirit, for this method appears not to have been 
afterward employed, but, under the guidance of the 
Spirit after Pentecost, those who were to be Divinely 
called to special ministries were expressly designated 
by name through a supernatural medium, as in the 
case of Paul (Acts ix : 4), Ananias (Acts ix : 10), 

etc. (Luthardt.) Further, this giving of the Spirit was not the Spirit 
personally imparting of himself to them, but only a partial instilling of 
his influence. He proceeds forth in his work (as in His essence) from 
the Father and the Son : This breathing of his influence was an im- 
parting of him from the Son in his risen body, but that body had not 
yet been received up, without which union of the God — manhood of 
the Son — to the glory of the Father, the Holy Spirit would not come. 
What was now conferred is plain from v. 23, by which authority to 
discern spirits and pronounce on them is re-assured (See Mat. xviii : 
18) ; and from Luke v. 45, by which a discerning of the mind of the 
Spirit is given to them. We find instances of both these gifts being 
exercised by Peter in Acts i, in his assertion of the sense of Scripture 
and his judgment of Judas. Both these, however, were only temporary 
and imperfect. That no final gifts of apostleship were now formally 
conferred is plain by the absence of Thomas, who, in that case, would be 
no apostle in the same sense in which the rest were." It will be seen 
that Alfoid's view agrees in the main points with that above given. 
The notion of ^partial return and a partial inspiration docs not seem to 
me at all warranted. The " going away " of which Christ spoke was 
his ascension to the Father. His " coming again " to the disciples was 
in the Holy Spirit. See John xiv: 17-19, 23; xvi : 15, 23-28. 



Timothy (i Tim. i: 18; iv: 14), Paul and Barnabas 
(Acts xiii : 2), Peter (Acts x : 5, 19), etc. Certain it 
is, that the name of Matthias never afterward appears 
in the Divine record, and that Paul was subsequently 
chosen, as had been the other apostles, by our Lord 
himself in person, thus completing their entire num- 
ber, as determined in the symbols of the Apocalypse, 
where the foundations of the new Jerusalem are rep- 
resented as having in them " the names of the twelve 
apostles of the Lamb." Rev. xxi : 14. The appoint- 
ment of Matthias was hence not Divinely recognized 
as authoritative and permanent. It had not been 
commanded by the Holy Spirit, nor had the Holy 
Spirit yet been given to illuminate the minds of the 
disciples in regard to their proper functions. 

Having thus considered the only passage in the 
New Testament which seems to imply the giving of 
the Holy Spirit prior to the day of Pentecost, and 
found it to be incorrectly applied, we now come to 
the actual fulfillment of the great promise of the 
gospel. It may be truly said, that the gift of the 
Holy Spirit to the Church, was an event as marked 
and as definite as the advent of Christ himself. Like 
the latter, it was specially foretold by the ancient 
prophets, and announced by John the Baptist. More 
emphatically still, was it repeatedly dwelt upon by 
the great Prophet, Christ himself. It forms, in fact, 
one of the great epochs in human affairs. It was 
the introduction of a Divine presence upon earth 
which had never here thus dwelt before, and which 
was now to secure and complete in man that salva- 



tion which a suffering Christ had effected for man. 
Until the special work of Christ was finished, there- 
fore, the Comforter could not come. The Redeemer 
must first enter into the true Holy Place to appear 
in the presence of God for men. He must first 
"ascend on high and lead captivity captive, before 
he received gifts for men, even for the rebellious, 
that the Lord God might dwell among them " by the 
Spirit. Thus alone could this Divine presence enter 
into the sanctuary of the human heart, to shed abroad 
there the sweet incense of the love of God, in its 
revelation of Christ, in renewing, sanctifying, justify- 
ing, and redeeming man ; the whole great work of 
salvation being briefly comprehended in two things, 
the gift of Christ for man and the gift of the Holy 
Spirit to man. Both were necessary to the full ac- 
complishment of the purposes of God, in revealing 
himself to humanity through a series of progressive 
illuminations and developments. For while the great 
promise of the Old Testament and the hope of the 
ancient saints, was the coming of Christ, the Messiah ; 
this was no sooner fulfilled, than the great remaining 
promise was the advent of the Holy Spirit, to com- 
plete the work of renovation. 

It was in direct reference to this completion of the 
plan of salvation, that the apostles, in the Commis- 
sion, were commanded to baptize believers "into the 
name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." 
The entire Godhead was thus expressed, as fully and 
finally manifested in the redemption of the world — a 
tri-unity, already made known in anticipation at the 

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baptism of Jesus, when the Father announced the 
Son and when the Holy Spirit, in a bodily form, 
descended and abode upon him. Not only in these 
incontrovertible evidences, but in all Christ's com- 
munications to the disciples upon this subject, the 
personality and Divinity of the Holy Spirit are clearly 
implied, while at the same time the unity of God is 
constantly maintained. The Father had been mani- 
fested to them in Christ, and they were now taught 
to look for another Paraclete, a new and permanent 
manifestation of God, which was to abide with them 
forever. For th£ accomplishment of this Divine 
promise, accordingly, the disciples now waited at 
Jerusalem. And it was at the culmination of the 
Pentecostal season, on the day of first fruits — a day 
supposed to have been observed also in commemora- 
tion of the giving of the Law on Sinai, that this 
momentous promise was fulfilled. 

It was about ten days after the ascension of Christ. 
The apostles had continued daily in prayer and sup- 
plication with the women and Mary the mother of 
Jesus and with his brethren. The number of the 
names together, we are told, was about one hundred 
and twenty, and, as the eventful hour approached, 
they were all gathered together with one accord in 
one place. " Suddenly," as Luke relates, " there came 
a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, 
and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like 
as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they 
were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to 



speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them 
utterance." These marvels being quickly noised 
abroad, a multitude of the Jews, dwellers at Jerusa- 
lem and strangers from foreign countries, immedi- 
ately assembled, and being astonished to hear, in 
their own native languages, the wonderful works of 
God related with all the fervor of inspiration, by these 
humble Galileans, were led to ask the meaning of the 
prodigy, while others scoffingly attributed the whole 
to the excitement produced by wine. But Peter, 
standing up with the eleven, at once repels this im- 
putation, and, in words of truth and soberness, refers 
his auditors to the prophecy of Joel as herein now 
fulfilled in the actual bestowment of the Holy Spirit. 
Having secured their attention, he goes on to declare 
to them, with authority and power, that in Jesus of 
Nazareth they had slain the Prince of Life, but that 
God, having raised him from the dead according to 
the express predictions of David and the prophets, 
had exalted him to his own right hand in the heavens, 
constituting him both Lord and Christ, in evidence 
of which, having received of the Father the promised 
Holy Spirit, he had now shed forth that which they 
then "saw and heard." Convinced of the truths 
thus declared and demonstrated, and pierced to the 
heart by the consciousness of their guilt before God, 
the people earnestly inquire of the apostles what they 
should do. Upon which, Peter commands them to 
"repent and be baptized for the remission of sins," 
assuring them that they too should receive the gift 
of the Holy Spirit, "for," said he, "the promise is to 



you and to your children, and to all that are afar off, 
even as many as the Lord our God shall call." 

This, then, was the first fulfillment of the promise 
which Christ gave to his disciples, that he would send 
them another Comforter to abide with them forever, 
and, in the literal fact thus recorded, we have the proper 
application and explanation of the many allusions and 
references to the giving of the Holy Spirit found in 
the Evangelists, whether these references be figura- 
tive or literal. The Holy Spirit had now been im- 
parted to the body of Christ, the church, to pervade 
all its members and establish and maintain among 
them, to the end of time, that unity for which Jesus 
had offered up his petitions to the Father. The 
imagery in which this momentous fact is foretold is 
glowing, striking, and forcible, as might naturally be 
expected from the prophetic style, but more especially 
from the important nature of the fact itself. The 
vivid character of these annunciations, and the im- 
partation of miraculous endowments which often, in 
apostolic times, attended the gift of the Spirit, have 
led many to erroneous conceptions as to what really 
constitutes this gift, and it will be proper here to 
consider the figures employed, as well as some of the 
cases recorded, as illustrative of what is actually 
meant by the " gift of the Holy Spirit." 


Metaphorical expressions relating to the gift of thi Spirit — Outpouring 
Drinking, Baptizing — Various impartations of the Spirit, direct, 
indirect — The fact the same in all cases — Unity effected by one 
Spirit — Supernatural powers a transient accompaniment. 

IT is in the prophecy of Joel, quoted by Peter on 
the day of Pentecost, that the idea of a 'pouring 
out' of the Spirit was first expressed. It is employed 
twice in the prophecy, and once by Peter, ver. 33, 
where he says, " He hath shed forth this which ye now 
see and hear." It is also used by Luke, (Acts x : 45,) 
and once by Paul, (Titus iii : 6,) where he speaks of 
the Holy Spirit being "shed on us abundantly," 
the same verb being used in all these cases in the 
original. As a literal outpouring of the Spirit is, 
from the very nature of the case, impossible and in- 
conceivable, the mind naturally seeks in the familiar 
fact of the pouring out of a fluid, some analogy or 
resemblance by which it may be enabled to appre- 
hend, in some measure at least, the mysterious fact 
revealed. This is readily and naturally found in the 
descent of the Spirit from above, and in the distribu- 
tion of his Divine influence among the disciples. 
The Holy Spirit was "sent down from heaven/' and 
each believer was manifestly imbued or endowed by 



Him with new powers and qualities, circumstances 
quite sufficient to justify the use, and exhaust the ap- 
plication, of the metaphor in question. It does not 
require, therefore, any of the concomitants, as the 
sound of a "mighty rushing wind/' or "cloven 
tongues like as of fire," etc., to complete its signi- 
fication. The very same expression, indeed, is used 
by Paul (Titus iii : 6,) to indicate the simple imparta- 
tion of the Spirit to believers in general. Here, 
speaking of the common salvation, he says: "He 
saved us — by the washing of regeneration, and the 
renewing of the Holy Spirit which he shed (poured 
out) on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our 

Again, in an allusive sense differing from this, the 
Spirit is repeatedly compared to water, as in Christ's 
language to the woman of Samaria : " If thou knewest 
the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give 
me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he 
would have given thee living water. — Whosoever 
drinketh of this water shall thirst again : but whoso- 
ever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall 
never thirst ; but the water that I shall give him, shall 
be in him a well of water springing up unto everlast- 
ing life." John iv: 10-14. On another occasion, on 
the great day of a Jewish passover, Jesus stood and 
cried, "If any man thirst, let him come to me and 
drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath 
said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." 
(" But this," adds John, " he spake of the Spirit which 
they that believe on him should receive.") John vii : 

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37-39- The figure here is plainly designed to illus- 
trate the blessings — the grateful, and life-giving influ- 
ences which were to be enjoyed by the believer, and 
to flow from him to others, through the possession of 
the Spirit ; and there is no more propriety in suppos- 
ing, in the former case, a literal outpouring of the 
Spirit, than to imagine in this, a literal drinking of 
the Spirit. Paul (1 Cor. xii: 13,) uses the same 
metaphor when he says " we have all been made to 
drink of* one Spirit." 

There is another metaphor used in reference to the 
giving of the Holy Spirit, viz., where this is called a 
baptizing. This is not derived, as some incorrectly 
suppose, from any peculiar circumstances connected 
specially with the giving of the Spirit on Pentecost. 
The expression was first employed by the Father 
himself in giving to John the Baptist a criterion by 
which he might recognize the Messiah. He sent 
John to baptize in water, and said to him, " Upon 
whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and re- 
maining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with 
the Holy Spirit." "And I saw and bare record," 
adds John, " that this is the Son of God." John i : 
33, 34. It was thus made a distinguishing character- 
istic of the Messiah, that he should possess the 
power to baptize in the Holy Spirit, and the appro- 
priateness of the metaphor is evidently to be found 

*The word here rendered "into" in the common version, is re- 
jected by the best commentators, as Lachman, Tischendorf, Alford, 
and Tregelles. 

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in a resemblance between this figurative baptism and 
the literal baptism performed by John, with which it 
is contrasted, and from which the metaphor is taken. 
The baptism (immersion) practiced by John, involved 
as its chief idea, an overwhelming, a sudden and 
complete overpowering of the person submerged by 
water, and the entering into conditions and relations 
wholly new. In like manner, the baptism of the 
Spirit was to imply an equally entire subjugation and 
overmastery of the soul by the Spirit which pervaded 
it ; an immediate and complete change and renova- 
tion. The Christian, accordingly, is to be "led by 
the Spirit," to "walk in the Spirit," to subject his 
entire nature to its control, and, in receiving it, he 
enters at once into relations and experiences before 
unknown. It is in these obvious analogies, that the 
propriety and appositeness of the figure may be seen, 
and its proper application understood. The same 
tropical use is made of the term baptism where 
Christ says of his sufferings and death, (Luke xii : 50,) 
" I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I 
straitened till it be accomplished !" See also Matt, 
xx: 22, 23 ; Mark x: 38, etc. To carry out resem- 
blances too far, or to mistake resemblances for iden- 
tities, is to run into gross materialistic speculations 
unwarranted by the Word of God. It is sufficient to 
know that literally there is no such thing as a "pour- 
ing out" of the Spirit, or a "drinking" of the Spirit, 
or a "baptism" in the Spirit, but that these are all 
alike metaphors, designed, by the resemblances they 
suggest, to present to the mind, in various aspects 



and from various points of view, the most lively and 
correct ideas possible of a fact, which, in whatever 
form or imagery it may be clothed, itself always re- 
• mains the same, and is simply and ^figuratively the 
impartation or gift of the Holy Spirit to those who 

None of the metaphors to which we have adverted, 
express the important nature and the striking results 
of the gift of the Spirit, so fully, as that one in which 
it is compared to a baptism. The thoroughness and 
completeness of the change effected, and the entire 
subordination of the human nature to a new suprem- 
acy, are here clearly pictured forth in a single de- 
scriptive term. We find it employed, accordingly, on 
several occasions in Scripture, and we may particu- 
larly notice that it is selected to set forth and empha- 
size the impartation of the Spirit as a special pre- 
rogative and characteristic of Christ. John might 
baptize in water. The disciples of Christ might 
baptize in water. Men were competent to fulfill such 
ministries as these ; but it was Christ alone who could 
baptize in the Holy Spirit. He did not, hence, per- 
sonally baptize any one in water. His own office was 
to impart a spiritual baptism, — to give to every be- 
liever the Spirit of God. This was something of a 
far different and more exalted nature, implying the 
possession of a power, dignity, and authority beyond 
all human conception, involving in itself the very 
attribute and essence of Deity ; for the thought could 
not for a moment be entertained that a mere man 
could enter upon such a function as this. Yet it is 



announced as the characteristic office of Christ to 
John the Baptist, who, accordingly, when Christ de- 
manded a baptism in water, was surprised, and re- 
fused at first, saying, " I have need to be baptized of 
thee, and comest thou to me?" "Suffer it to be so 
now," replied Jesus, " for thus it becometh us to fulfill 
all righteousness." * 

This peculiar function, the impartation of the Holy 
Spirit, with great propriety appertains to Christ, 
since the Church to which it is communicated is his 
body, and he is himself represented as the head from 
which life and power proceed. Peter, therefore, said : 
" Having received of the Father the promise of the 
Spirit (i. e., the promised Spirit,) he hath shed forth 
this which you now see and hear." It was on the day 

* It was proper that Jesus, as the Son of God, should ratify the 
ministry of John, by submitting, as a Jew, to the baptism which God 
had ordained. It was proper, moreover, that in setting up the king- 
dom of God on earth, he should himself, as an example to his follow- 
ers, comply with its requisitions. Up to this moment, he appeared in 
a divided relation, allied, on the one hand, to God as his father, and, on 
the other, to Mary as his mother, and in subjection to both. The 
time had now arrived, when the maternal relation was to be merged 
and lost in a new and symbolic birth, a birth of water, it being ap- 
pointed to all who should enter the kingdom of heaven, now announced, 
that they should be " born of water and of the Spirit." From this time, 
consequently; the position of Jesus to his mother was entirely changed. 
He was now wholly consecrated to his spiritual mission, and on various 
occasions indicated, in a manner sufficiently marked, the entire 
abrogation of all maternal authority, and his entire devotion to those 
higher spiritual relations in respect to which he said : " My mother 
and my brethren are those who hear the Word of God and do it." 
Luke viii: 21. 



of Pentecost that Christ first imparted the Holy Spirit 
to the Church, according to his express declaration 
shortly before, where he himself employs the very 
same analogy with John's baptism formerly intro- 
duced. "John indeed," said he, "baptized in water, 
but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit, not many 
days hence." This repetition of the expression, at 
different times, and by different persons, and that, too, 
with a constant -and direct reference to the baptism 
of John, while it evinces the source and scope of the 
metaphor, shows also its appositeness to express, in a 
brief and striking manner, the sudden and marked 
change effected by the gift of the Spirit. It was not 
to be a mere affusion, but an immersion, an over- 
whelming, a complete and thorough overmastery and 
renovation of those subjected to it. 

The next occasion on which there seems to have 
been a renewed impartation of the Spirit, was when 
Peter and John were imprisoned, and brought before 
the priests and rulers for preaching " through Jesus, 
the resurrection of the dead." Being released, it is 
said they returned to their own company, and earnest 
prayer was then offered up that with all boldness they 
might speak the word of God, and that wonders and 
signs might be accomplished by the name of Jesus. 
"Immediately," we are informed, "the place was 
shaken where they were assembled, and they were 
all filled with the Holy Spirit." Here there was no 
gift of languages conferred, no " tongues as of fire," 
since this charism they already possessed, and no 
sound as of a "rushing, mighty wind," but the place 

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where they were was shaken, as a similar sensible 
evidence of an answer to their prayers, and they were 
all filled with the Spirit. They had not prayed for 
the Spirit, but for those things which the Spirit alone 
could impart, and it is accordingly "the supply of 
the Spirit " which is given. This fact shows that the 
Spirit was given in various measures according to the 
circumstances, and that when persecution and immi- 
nent peril demanded a stronger degree of courage and 
fortitude, these qualities were imparted by bestowing 
a larger measure of the Spirit of God ; it being one 
of the offices of the Spirit to strengthen with might 
the inner man, and fill the soul with a divine peace 
and calmness in the hour of trial. On this occasion, 
accordingly, we read that "they were all filled with 
the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with bold- 
ness." The same language was used of them on 
Pentecost, "they were all filled with the Holy Spirit," 
but we are not to suppose that the spiritual strength, 
then imparted, had been at all diminished, only that, 
on this second occasion, a larger measure was de- 
manded by the urgency of the crisis, the powers of 
darkness now being fairly roused to opposition. Paul, 
in Phil, i : 19, 20, refers to the same things when he 
says : " I know that this shall turn to my salvation 
through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of 
Jesus Christ, according to my earnest expectation, 
and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed: but 
that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ 
shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life 
or by death." 



The next occasion recorded on which there was a 
direct impartation of the Holy Spirit, was at the 
calling of the Gentiles. Here Peter had no sooner 
announced the gospel to Cornelius and his household, 
than " the Holy Spirit fell on all them which heard 
the word," and the believing Jews present, we are 
told, were astonished because "on the Gentiles also 
was poured out the gift of the Holy Spirit, for they 
heard them speak with tongues and magnify God." 
Whether or not there appeared on this occasion, as 
at Pentecost, "cloven tongues like as of fire," is not 
stated, but it is most probable that the same symbolic 
appearances attended, as the same gift was imparted, 
and this seems to be even implied in what Peter says 
when rehearsing the matter to . the other apostles. 
"The Holy Spirit fell on them as on us at the begin- 
ning." This reference to the beginning, indicates like 
visible and audible manifestations accompanying the 
giving of the Spirit, for as to the giving of the Spirit 
apart from these, this had repeatedly taken place since 
"the beginning" referred to. 

In this account, we find the usual terms and meta- 
phors employed — " The Holy Spirit fell on all " — 
" On the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the 
Holy Spirit;" and Peter in relating the fact adds: 
" Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that 
he said John indeed baptized with water, but ye shall 
be baptized with the Holy Spirit." Here we have 
the same figurative and allusive expressions already 
considered. The Spirit "fell," was sent down from 
heaven. It is, therefore, compared to a "pouring 

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out." The effect of its reception was a sudden and 
complete revolution in regard to the recipients. It 
is, therefore, compared to an immersion or an over- 
whelming. But by all these is meant substantially 
nothing more than the literal fact that the Holy 
Spirit was given and received, the manner of giving 
and the effect of the gift merely, being embodied in 
these expressive metaphors. Hence adds Peter in 
plain and literal language, " Forasmuch then as God 
gave them the like gift as he did unto us, — what was 
I, that I could withstand God ?" All these metaphor- 
ical expressions are then thus reduced to the simple 
statement, 44 God gave them the like gift." It was, 
in all the cases, the impartation of the Holy Spirit, no 
more, no less. Literally, there was no "falling of the 
Spirit," no " outpouring," no "baptism," these met- 
aphors being used merely to give a more lively or 
vivid idea of the simple fact — the gift of the Holy 

This will appear still more clearly when we con- 
sider those cases in which the Spirit was given in- 
directly through the laying on of hands. As the 
Father had sent Jesus, so Jesus sent the apostles and 
others as his special embassadors, and, along with 
other credentials, conferred upon them the power of 
obtaining the gift of the Holy Spirit through prayer 
and the imposition of hands. This became to them 
accordingly a very important function and a most 
expressive mark of the high position which they 
occupied as the immediate vicegerents of Christ him- 
self. It was, indeed^ still the Lord himself, who, in 



these, as in other cases,, gave the Holy Spirit ; but the 
apostles were allowed to designate, through prayer 
and the laying on of hands, the individuals upon 
whom the gift 'might properly be bestowed. This, in 
order to throw around the apostolic office its proper 
sanctions, seems to have been the general rule in all 
places where the apostles labored, and this power 
seems to have been restricted to them and to a few 
others specially commissioned for the purpose. Thus, 
when the people of Samaria received the gospel from 
Philip the evangelist, they were baptized, but remained 
for a time without the Holy Spirit, as we are expressly 
informed "he had fallen on none of them, only they 
were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus." When 
the apostles at Jerusalem learned " that Samaria 
had received the word of God, they sent unto them 
Peter and John, who, when they were come down, 
prayed for them that they might receive the Holy 
Spirit — Then laid they their hands on them and 
they received the Holy Spirit." That this imparta- 
tion of the Spirit was accompanied by visible tokens, 
is evident from what is said of Simon Magus, that 
" when he sazv that through laying on of the apostles 
hands, the Holy Spirit was given." There must have 
been, therefore, sensible miraculous attestations of 
the fact here, as in other cases, and the ambition of 
the sorcerer was roused so that he sought to purchase 
from the apostles a similar power. Peter, therefore,- 
said to him. "Thy money perish with thee, because 
thou hast thought that the gift of God may be pur- 
chased with money." It was still " the gift of God," 

touwi Theological Serrins-y IJS^r, 
>>• New York City 


though given through the apostles, and its ministra- 
tion was evidently chiefly confined to them during 
their ministry. Thus Paul, finding at Ephesus 
twelve disciples of John, inquired of them, " Have 
you received the Holy Spirit since you believed ? " 
Upon their answering in the negative, we further 
read that when, after their baptism, Paul laid his 
hands upon them, " the Holy Spirit came on them 
and they spake with tongues and prophesied." Again 
in Galatians iii: 5, Paul asks : " He that ministereth 
to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, 
doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing 
of faith ? " To minister or supply the Spirit was thus a 
characteristic and important part of the apostolic 
office in all the regions to which their ministry 
extended. It does not appear, however, that in re- 
gions to which scattered members may have carried 
the gospel, and where it was believed and obeyed, the 
Holy Spirit was not imparted directly, without apos- 
tolic intermediation. It was one of the promises of 
the gospel itself, and to be sought and received 
through prayer, and seems to have been connected 
with the apostolic office for the reasons assigned, only 
in the places to which their immediate labors extended. 
Thus, the church at Rome was evidently in possession 
of the Spirit before any apostle had visited that city ; 
and the Ethiopian eunuch, who went on his way re- 
joicing, doubtless enjoyed the same blessing, without 
which he could not have become a member of the 
body of Christ. Nor was the power of imparting the 
Spirit wholly restricted to the apostles. Paul himself 

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received this gift through the laying on of the hands 
of a disciple specially deputed for the purpose: 
" Brother Saul," said Ananias, " the Lord, (even Jesus 
that appeared unto thee in the way as thou earnest,) 
hath sent me unto thee, that thou mightest receive 
thy sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 
ix: 17. There was then no invincible necessity that 
the impartation of the Spirit should be restricted to 
the apostles alone, though this function was evidently 
attached to their mission in general for the reasons 
just given. 

Some, in reference to this point, distinguishing 
between what they call the ordinary gift of the Spirit 
and the miraculous powers, assert that the former 
in all cases immediately attended obedience to the gos- 
pel, and that it was the latter alone that was confided 
to the apostles. That the apostles possessed the 
power of imparting special charisms is evident from 
Rom. i : 1 1 ; 2 Tim. i : 6, etc., but there seems to be 
no authority for restricting their agency to the im- 
partation of mere miraculous powers. The language 
used in reference to their exercise of the power com- 
mitted to them is extremely definite. They commun- 
icated the Holy Spirit, (the dcopzav) the gift of God, 
and not a charism only, and, in the case of the Samar- 
itans, it is expressly stated that the Holy Spirit had 
previously fallen upon none of them. They had been 
merely baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, and 
remained, for a season, without the indwelling pre- 
sence of the Spirit. 

The reason of this delay, has been variously under- 

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stood. The most probable one is, that it was pur- 
posely designed to secure, among the Samaritans, a 
proper respect for the apostolic office. Astonished 
at the signs and wonders wrought by Philip the 
Evangelist, and rejoicing in the knowledge of the 
gospel which he had preached to them, they would 
be very naturally disposed to magnify unduly his 
office and position. This people, who from the 
paucity of their religious knowledge and their ardent 
expectation of a Messiah, had already been carried 
away by the false pretensions of Simon, were doubt- 
less at this time easily impressed by the marvelous, 
and probably disposed to exalt beyond measure the 
personal claims and character of Philip. The with- 
holding from them, for a time, the Holy Spirit, the 
proper seal of the ministry of the gospel, and the 
need thence arising for the presence of some of the 
apostles, would tend at once to correct such errone- 
ous conceptions and give to the apostles their proper 
position and authority before the people. 

Neander, indeed, thinks that it was entirely within 
the province of Philip to have obtained, through the 
gospel and prayer, the gift of the Holy Spirit for 
these converts. If so, it was singular that this was 
not done, and that the history confines exclusively 
here to Peter and to John the imparting of the Holy 
Spirit. It is, doubtless, true, however, as before re- 
marked that, in regions remote from the scene of 
apostolic labors, the simple ministration and obedi- 
ence of the gospel was attended with the fulfillment 
of all the Divine promises connected with it, and that 

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religious communities could be founded in which the 
Spirit of God dwelt, and to which it imparted all the 
charisms needed for edification, without any special 
ministry on the part of apostles. The reason for the 
delay, in the case of the Samaritans, supposed by 
Neander, is briefly this, that their minds, as yet im- 
perfectly enlightened, and much bewildered by the 
sorceries of Simon, were not in a proper condition to 
receive the Spirit of God ; and that his presence was 
therefore delayed until, by means of further instruc- 
tion and prayer, they were suitably prepared. He 
contrasts this case, furthermore, with that of the 
house of Cornelius where, in consequence of their 
hearts having been purified by faith, the Spirit was 
given in advance of baptism, or any public profession 
of the gospel. That a proper state of the heart has 
much to do with the enjoyment of the Holy Spirit, 
is undoubtedly true, but the condition of the Samari- 
tans, who are represented as having believed Philip 
"preaching the things concerning the kingdom of 
God and the name of Jesus Christ," and as having 
been " baptized, both men and women," can scarcely 
be supposed to have been unfit for either the remis- 
sion of sins or the presence of the Spirit. Nor does 
it seem proper to assign, in the case of Cornelius, any 
other reason for the gift of the Spirit prior to formal 
obedience, than the one which is plainly implied in 
the narrative itself, viz., to convince the Jews, by 
irresistible evidence, that God had "granted to the 
Gentiles also repentance unto life." Neither prophe- 
cies nor special visions were sufficient to overcome 

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the intensity of Jewish prejudices. It was the simple 
fact of the importation to the Gentiles of the Holy 
Spirit, by which unity was to be established in the 
body of Christ, which at once removed every linger- 
ing doubt. Unless this had been first done, they 
would not have been received to baptism or admitted 
to fellowship with the church. The fact undoubtedly 
shows, furthermore, that God did not formerly for- 
bear to give his Holy Spirit to those whose hearts 
were purified by faith, even without baptism, and that 
a want of faith, therefore, is the only insuperable 
obstacle to the reception of the Spirit. It is, then, a 
just conclusion, that he does not now withhold this 
precious gift from any true believer, even though he 
may, from ignorance of his duty, have remained 
unbaptized, in this age of religious error and confu- 
sion. This is a corollary indeed which necessarily 
follows from the concession that God has a people 
scattered among all religious parties. 

It has now been seen, by an induction of the vari- 
ous eases, that the Holy Spirit was sometimes be- 
stowed directly, and, at other times, by the laying on 
of the hands of apostles, or of some special agent 
chosen for the purpose. It remains to be shown, that 
the metaphors which we have been considering are 
applied alike in these different cases, and that the 
distinctions which some have attempted to make in 
regard to them, are absolutely without foundation. 
It is asserted, for instance, that the metaphor of a 
" baptism" is applicable only to the cases of Pente- 
cost and the house of Cornelius. Yet, it must be 

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admitted that, in the case of the Samaritans, the gift 
of the Spirit through the laying on of hands was at- 
tended with visible demonstrations of power, such as 
were given at Jerusalem and in other cases. Again, 
when Paul laid hands on the twelve disciples at 
Ephesus, we are told that the " Holy Spirit came on 
them, and they spake with tongues and prophesied." 
Here the Spirit is represented as "coming" or falling 
on them (hence an outpouring), and we have briefly, 
but in substance, precisely what occurred on Pente- 
cost. There was also a complete change effected in 
the state and relations of these disciples of John, and 
there is hence equal propriety here in the use of the 
figure of a baptism. All difficulty, indeed, in regard 
to these expressions vanishes at once, when it is un- 
derstood that they are simply metaphors, designed to 
give, by similitude, a lively idea of a momentous literal 
fact which is, itself, constantly the same, and remains 
unaffected by the particular term or phrase used to 
designate it. In no subject, perhaps, except that of 
religion, would men depart so far from common sense 
and common usage, as to mistake a figure for a fact, 
or endeavor to make a fact subordinate and subservi- 
ent to the figures under which it is presented. 

It should be remembered that the whole discussion 
which has been carried on in relation to these terms 
is a debate about words, and not about things. The 
thing remains the same, it matters not by what term 
it is designated, and it is differently designated because 
it may be looked at from different points of view, 
and presents itself in different aspects. It would be 

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an absurdity to suppose ^that baptism in the Spirit 
was one thing, and an outpouring of the Spirit 
another, and the drinking of the Spirit a still dif- 
ferent matter. It can not be too .often repeated, that 
these are all alike figures designed to present, in vari- 
ous lights, the simple fact of the gift of the Spirit to 

Finally, however, we have in what Paul says, 
i Cor. xii: 13,* a very full and positive illustration 

* This passage has been strangely misinterpreted. I. Some have 
supposed the " baptism in or by the Spirit " to be the impartation of 
miraculous powers, and they so understand also the outpouring of the 
Spirit on Pentecost. The idea entertained of baptism must indeed be 
sufficiently vague when men can imagine that a mere " charism " such 
as the gift of tongues, or the interpretation of tongues, or the discern- 
ing of spirits could merit the title of a " baptism." Such a view is 
not only absurd in itself, but incompatible with the facts and with the 
language here used by the apostle. It is perfectly well known that 
all did not possess " charisms," and that there were in the church the 
"unlearned" and the "private" members who possessed neither 
official position nor supernatural gifts. But Paul here affirms of all, 
Jew and Greek, bond and free, that they had been baptized by one 
Spirit. Moreover, " charisms " were not conferred upon aliens to 
bring them into the " one body " or church, but upon those who were 
already members of the church in order to the general edification of 
the whole. Neither could the cessation of such gifts, either entirely 
or in part, at all affect the real connection of any one with the body of 

2. Le Clerc and others imagine the apostle to refer here to water- 
baptism, as persons are elsewhere said to be therein " baptized into 
Christ " and to " put on Christ." Baptism in water certainly estab- 
lishes a. formal union with the body of Christ, and all, " both Jew and 
Greek, bond and free," were thus brought into the one body, as it 
existed visibly in the world. A certain plausibility hence attaches itself 
to this interpretation, by which the superficial are misled. But Paul 


II 9 

of the Scripture use of these expressions. He says, 
when treating of the gifts of the Spirit and the unity 
of the body of Christ, " by one Spirit are we all bap- 
was not here treating of any mere formal union, or professed adherence 
to Christ. His subject is the real spiritual unity which exists in the 
body of Christ. He is regarding the members of the church here 
throughout, not as such because of any visible or formal connection, 
but because they are animated and actuated by " the one and the self- 
same Spirit." He shows that however various the gifts of individuals, 
it is the same Spirit by which they are communicated, and is careful 
to repeat, again and again, when mentioning the different gifts, that 
they are all alike imparted by the same Spirit, " dividing to every man 
severally as he will." Referring now to the human body, he declares 
that as this is one and yet has many members, " so also is Christ "— 
that is, the entire spiritual community contemplated as a body with 
Christ as its head. The human body is one, because it is animated by 
one Spirit ; and the apostle thence illustrates the unity of the body of 
Christ. He infers this unity, not from any visible or formal union of 
the members with the body, such as water-baptism might effect ; but 
from the fact that all the members were pervaded by one Spirit, and 
the thirteenth verse constitutes the very premises on which he bases 
his proposition. He argues that every one, " Jew or Greek, bond or 
free," who was a real member of Christ's body, had become such by 
being baptized by or in " one Spirit," and by being " made to drink 
of one Spirit." Christ had promised, and that too without any restric- 
tion or limitation, that believers should be baptized in the Holy Spirit ; 
and Peter had applied Joel's prophecy of this to the Jews, and to all 
who were afar off (the Gentiles), even to as many as would be truly 
" called." Christ, employing another metaphor, had declared that 
'whosoever thirsted should come to him and drink, and that the 
water he would give should be a well of water in the believer, spring- 
ing up unto everlasting life.' The reception of the Holy Spirit, thus 
figuratively expressed, was a fact realized by those whom Paul ad- 
dressed, and he hence appeals to this consciousness, as well as to the 
fact expressed in these familiar and appropriate metaphors, as indubi- 
table evidence that it was "one and the self-same Spirit " by which 
all the different members of Christ's body were imbued and actuated. 



tized into one body, whether we be Jew or Gentile, 
whether we be bond or free, and have all been made 
to drink of one Spirit." We have here two of the 
metaphors in question — that of a baptism and a 
"drinking" of the Spirit. He expressly and posi- 
tively affirms that all had received this baptism ; 
that all had been made to drink of one Spirit. It 
mattered not how or through what instrumentality 
the Holy Spirit was given, it remained true of all 
that they had received this spiritual baptism, and 
had been made partakers of the same Spirit. The 

A reference to water-baptism here, as supposed, would have been 
absurd. It would have been nothing to the purpose. It could have 
proved nothing, since he was not arguing unity from the connection 
of the members with the body, but from the fact that all were per- 
vaded by one Spirit. It is strange that any should so misconceive the 
apostle's train of thought here, more especially as all ought to know 
that water-baptism does not establish even union among professors of 
Christianity, much less unity. All who practice water-baptism are not 
united into one body thereby, for there are many parties of immersion- 
ists. But if water-baptism had even the power of effecting union in 
one body, this would be a matter wholly different from that unity of 
which Paul is here speaking. 

The language which he uses, however, is so extremely definite as 
utterly to forbid such an interpretation. The logical arrangement of 
the words, " in one Spirit " being placed in the beginning of the sen- 
tence rather th in in its natural place after the verb, shows this to be 
emphatic and to contain the principal or leading thought. The use of 
kv also, which, especially with the verb in the passive, can not be 
otherwise rendered than by " in " as denoting the element in which 
the baptism took place, or if even translated " by," must have respect 
to the means or instrumentality by which the baptism was effected, is 
quite sufficient to determine the meaning, so that neither critically nor 
exegetically, is there the slightest ground for the interpretation under 



apostle is here speaking, not of the spiritually gifted 
in the church of Corinth, but of the entire church or 
body of Christ (v. 28), in which God had set apostles, 
prophets, and all the various ministries appertaining 
to it, as having had all its members thus baptized 
into one body. The language is remarkable for its 
universality, " all, whether Jews or Gentiles, bond or 
free " — Peter and Cornelius, Onesimus and Phile- 
mon, all in every place who called on the name of 
the Lord and enjoyed the salvation of the gospel. 
And let it be distinctly noted that Paul includes 
himself among the number. " We," says he, " have 
all been baptized by one Spirit into one body." 
Now, Paul, as we have seen, simply received the 
Holy Spirit through the laying on of the hands of 
Ananias. The simple communication of the Spirit 
then involved a baptism and an outpouring. Its re- 
ception was, in all cases, a " drinking " of the Spirit, 
" for this spake Jesus of the Spirit which they that 
believe on him should receive." Like the other 
metaphors, this was equally applicable to all who 
believed, just as were also the other expressions in- 
tended to denote the same literal fact from a point 
of view somewhat different. None of them, nor all 
of them together, could possibly imply or amount to 
more than the simple fact they were designed to ex- 
press, the communication and reception of the Holy 
Spirit. The metaphor of pouring out exhibits the 
act of the Giver. The figure of a baptism represents 
the effect upon the receiver. The drinking of the 
Spirit expresses the eager and voluntary participa- 

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tion of the believer in the spiritual blessings vouch- 
safed. The pouring out did not constitute the bap- 
tism. This figurative baptism was a result or conse- 
quence of fhe pouring out of the Spirit, which, with 
the utmost propriety, is made to precede it, and 
without which there could have been no baptism 
And let it be noted, that it was not a sprinkling, but 
a pouring out, and this so copious and abundant that 
an immersion or overwhelming was a natural and 
necessary result as it respected the recipients. It is, 
therefore, in entire congruity with the circumstances, 
and with the fact itself, that the figure of a baptism 
is used. An overwhelming is the very first concep- 
tion which naturally arises when a fluid is copiously 
poured out from above upon those beneath, and all 
the accompanying incidents recorded are such as to 
give precisely the idea of such a pouring out. The 
sound of "a mighty rushing wind filling the place 
where they were sitting," the recorded fact that they 
were "all filled with the Holy Spirit," and all the 
glowing prophetic imagery employed to describe the 
event, show, unequivocally, that the figure of a bap- 
tism or overwhelming was the most appropriate that 
could be selected to convey a lively idea of the effect 
resulting in respect to those who received the Spirit. 

It is not to be supposed, however, that these extra- 
ordinary concomitants were at all essentially con- 
nected with the giving of the Spirit. There was 
great propriety that the first communication of the 
Spirit should be thus specially signalized, just as the 
advent of Christ was marked in an especial manner 


by various angelic visitations and miraculous appear- 
ances. Nor is there the slightest reason to suppose 
that the Holy Spirit was not just as fully and as freely 
imparted to every single individual subsequently, 
without any of these extraneous manifestations, as it 
was on the day of Pentecost. It so happens, indeed, 
that amidst the wonderful previsions and provisions 
of revelation, we are furnished with direct and ex- 
press testimony in regard to this point. For Paul, 
in speaking to Titus of the common salvation says, 
he saved us by the washing of regeneration and the 
renewing of the Holy Spirit, which he shed [poured 
out] on us abundantly (nlouauoz richly) through 
Jesus Christ our Saviour, etc. 

Here the fact of an abundant pouring out on all the 
saved is distinctly asserted. We have already seen 
how Paul, 1 Cor. xii: 13, makes a wiiversal applica- 
tion to all believers of the metaphors baptism of the 
Spirit, and drinking of the Spirit. We now see that, 
in the letter to Titus, he makes a similar tmiversal 
application of the figure of a pouring out of the Spirit, 
employing the very same term (kxylco) which is used 
on the occasion of Pentecost. And it is worthy of 
special notice, that here again, as in 1 Cor. xii: 13, 
in his application of the term he includes himself y so 
that the Holy Spirit was "poured out" upon Paul 
equally as upon others; he received the "baptism" 
of the Spirit equally with all other members of the 
one body of Christ ; he was made to drink of one 
Spirit alike with all other believers, yet when we 
turn to the record of the fact, we find, as formerly 



remarked, no extraordinary manifestations such as 
occurred on Pentecost, but are simply informed that 
Ananias was sent to lay his hands on him that he 
might " be filled with the Holy Spirit." 

Christianity has no theatricals, either public or 
private. It does nothing merely for display, and 
when it employs "signs and wonders," it is for just 
and sufficient reasons, and for a definite purpose. 
The concomitants of the giving of the Spirit on 
Pentecost, in Samaria, and elsewhere, were appropri- 
ate to the circumstances, and served to confirm the 
Word of the apostles and evangelists who preached 
to the people. In Paul's case, there was no neces- 
sity for such demonstrations, and they were not given. 
Yet Paul received "the gift of the Spirit" as fully as 
any one on Pentecost. No "cloven tongues like as 
of fire" were seen, but he received most richly the 
gift of tongues, as he says to the Corinthians, who, we 
are told, came behind the other churches in no gift, 
that he spoke with tongues more than all of them ; 
and he enjoyed likewise, in the highest degree, all the 
miraculous powers, Divine visions, and inspirations. 
It is only by thus separating the accessories and ac- 
cidents from the impartation of the Spirit himself, 
and contemplating this, in its reality and its sim- 
plicity, as the fulfillment of the Divine promise, that 
any just or consistent or enlarged views of this most 
important subject can be attained, and, it may be 
added, that it is a subject which, more than any other, 
involves, in its correct understanding, the right inter- 
pretation of the New Testament. 



I have thus dwelt, somewhat at length, upon these 
figures, because they have been the occasion of much 
confusion of thought and religious error, especially as 
it relates to the question of the nature of the act in- 
dicated by the term baptism, * and also continue to 
be grossly misapplied by theorists on the subject of 
"spiritual operations." Men's imaginations are in- 
flamed with glowing pictures of the supernatural 
accompaniments of the first descent of the Spirit, 

* Anti-immcrsionists have sought, in the metaphorical language em- 
ployed in relation to the descent of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, some 
support for their views, and some are bold to assert that God's way of 
baptizing on that occasion was by "pouring," and that this settles the 
question. They do not seem to perceive that a literal immersion could 
be the immediate and natural effect of an abundant outpouring from 
above, or that the cardinal idea in an immersion, an overwhelming, 
would be a necessary result of such an outpouring. If they have de- 
cided that "pouring," at least, has Divine authority, it is to be 
hoped that they will henceforth abandon, as a mode of baptism, the 
practice of "sprinkling" Nevertheless, it might be freely admitted 
that both "pouring" and "sprinkling" may be "modes of baptism," 
if the pouring or sprinkling be copious enough or continued long enough 
to effect the immersion or "overwhelming" of the "candidate." It 
will surely, however, be found more convenient to baptise by plunging 
the believer into water, than to accomplish his immersion by the more 
tedious process of either " pouring " or " sprinkling." 

The attempt, above mentioned, to settle the literal meaning of a 
word by means of its figurative use, is so absurd, as scarcely to merit 
serious attention. On such a principle of interpretation, it is not the 
" word of God " that is a " lamp," but a " lamp " that is the " word 
of God;" it is not "Christ" who is the "bright morning star," but 
it is the " morning star " that is " Christ." Such efforts to evade the 
truth, in violation of the established laws of language, only betray the 
weakness of the cause in which they are employed, and the blindness 
induced by the prejudices of education. 



and they are taught to look still for " Pentecostal sea- 
sons ;" for stupendous miraculous displays ; for " blood 
and fire and vapor of smoke," and for sights and sounds 
and visions of Christ, and whatever else of the mar- 
velous may be gathered from the Oriental imagery 
of the prophets, while at the same time, and as an 
inevitable consequence, they are led to disparage the 
word of salvation which is nigh them, and to neglect 
the institutions and means of grace through which 
God bestows the blessings of the gospel. 

Sufficient evidence, I trust, has now been adduced 
to show that such phrases as "outpouring of the 
Spirit," " baptism in the Spirit," etc., are just as ap- 
plicable to believers now as they were in apostolic 
days, since these expressions are mere metaphors 
designed to express the simple literal fact of the gift 
of the Spirit — the Comforter or Paraclete who was to 
abide with the church forever. It is in this view 
alone, that a peculiar appropriateness appears in the 
particular designation of Christ as "he that baptiseth 
in the Holy Spirit." This was, and is, and will con- 
tinue to be his special office. It is he who received 
of the Father the promised Spirit. The Spirit of 
God is the Spirit of Christ. And it is Christ who 
bestows this gift upon the believer as the efficient 
agent in his sanctification, and the earnest of his 
eternal inheritance. From the very necessity of the 
case, and in entire harmony with the most explicit 
declarations of Scripture, this gift must continue to 
be bestowed to the end of the world, and " He that 
baptizeth in the Holy Spirit" shall not have com- 



pleted this important function until he shall be recog- 
nized as "He that cometh." The vain reasoning of 
those who, confounding miraculous powers which 
existed under all dispensations, with that gift of the 
Spirit which is the peculiar characteristic of the 
economy of the gospel, suppose this gift to have ceased 
because these powers have disappeared, scarcely 
merit attention, opposed as they are to the plainest 
teachings of the Word of God already adduced, and 
to the experience of every true believer. To profess 
a religion devoid of the Spirit of Christ, is* to have 
" a form of godliness without the power thereof," and 
to substitute sheer rationalism, or its religious equiva- 
lent, Socinianism, for the Christianity of the Bible. 

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The Kingdom of Heaven — Its nature and design — Supernatural 
powers in the Primitive Church — Paul's reasoning in regard to 
them — Test of Discipleship — Martyrdom — Spiritual gifts — Their 
purposes — Miraculous Faith — The human Will — Spiritual Gifts 
to be distinguished from the Permanent Fruits of the Spirit. 

ONE of the most striking features of human 
nature is the love of the marvelous, the desire 
for something new and startling. Especially in rela- 
tion to the things of the unseen spiritual world, and 
the mysteries of the religious life, do men " desire a 
sign," and seek after sensible proofs and external 
manifestations. But " the kingdom of heaven Com- 
eth not with observation." It is, in its essential 
nature, "righteousness and peace and joy in the 
Holy Spirit," and men need to close their eyes upon 
the things of sense — to die to the world and to " be 
born again," before they can " see " this kingdom or 
realize and enjoy its blessings. It is here that the 
flesh "profits nothing," can originate nothing, can 
perfect nothing. It was indicative of the nature of 
this kingdom that its fundamental truth was not re- 
vealed to Peter "by flesh and blood," but by the 
" Father who is in heaven." For it is not a king- 
dom of this world, and this world can not supply its 

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principles, or aid its purposes, or furnish its regula- 
tions. It is truly the kingdom of heaven ; its Ruler 
is " the Lord from heaven," and men must be " born 
from above" before they can enter its sacred pre- 

This kingdom, nevertheless, is set up Qn the earth. 
It is designed to gather into it the children of men, 
that they may enjoy its blessings. Its Ruler, hence, 
though the Son of God, was also the son of man ; 
though " the Lord from heaven," he was also allied 
to the noblest of the royal families of earth, and 
entitled to reign both on earth and in heaven. The 
Word, though Divine, was made flesh and dwelt 
among men, that, partaking with them of flesh and 
blood, and "found in fashion as a man," he might 
reveal himself to men, and through death destroy, for 
them, him that had the power of death, and redeem 
humanity from the thralldom of sin and Satan. From 
the very nature of the case, therefore, his kingdom, 
though itself unseen, required to be introduced to the 
notice of mankind by means of sensible evidences 
through which alone it could be revealed to them. 
These evidences were accordingly furnished. Men 
were enabled to behold " the glory of the Only Be- 
gotten of the Father full of grace and truth : " their 
eyes were permitted to see and their hands to handle 
that " Word of life" which was manifested to the world, 
and all necessary proofs of his Divine character and 
mission were afforded in signs and wonders and 
mighty deeds. These demonstrations, however, when 
their purpose was attained, were necessarily with- 

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drawn, and the King himself, having gained the vic- 
tory over our spiritual enemies, and " brought life 
and immortality to light," returned in triumph to the 
heavens to await the hour of the manifestation of the 
sons of God in the glory of the kingdom. He hence 
said to the disciples : " I came forth from the Father 
and am come into the world : again, I leave the world 
and go unto the Father." "It is expedient for you 
that I go away." It was proper that his personal 
presence in the flesh, should give place to one more 
consonant with the nature and genius of his reign ; 
that sensible demonstration should no longer delay 
the work of faith ; and that the earthly ties of Jewish 
relationship, and hopes of earthly grandeur, and fleshly 
feelings of natural attachment on the part of his dis- 
ciples, should be merged in that higher and holier 
spiritual unity to be established by the Comforter. 
Hence, though they had known Christ after the flesh, 
they were to know him so no more ; and though 
signs and wonders and supernatural manifestations 
for a time continued, as needed testimonials of the 
mission of the apostles, and as aids in the organiza- 
tion and development of the church, all these attesta- 
tions and revelations were completed with the min- 
istry of those whom Christ had constituted his 
embassadors to the world, and with that immaturity 
of the church by which they were demanded. 

While the church was thus in its pupilage, the spe- 
cial spiritual gifts needed for its edification and growth 
were conferred upon particular members for the 
benefit of the whole. Under these circumstances, 

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the love of novelty and of distinction, so character- 
istic of human nature, led some to desire the more 
showy and striking gifts, and to disparage those 
which, though less imposing, were of far more practi- 
cal utility. The Corinthians, particularly, in their 
admiration of powers of language and of eloquence, 
seem to have chiefly prized the gift of tongues, and 
to have fallen into some disorder in their public 
meetings from their eagerness to display their gifts. 
Paul, in his first letter to them, thought it necessary, 
therefore, to give them special instructions on the 
subject, to which we shall now attend, in order to 
determine the precise position which supernatural 
powers occupy, as respects the promise and work of 
the Comforter. 

In the beginning of the twelfth chapter, the 
apostle, after expressing his desire that the Corin- 
thian brethren should understand this matter, and 
reminding them that they had formerly been carried 
away to dumb idols, who could reveal nothing and 
impart nothing, goes on to lay down two universal 
propositions: 1st. That "no man speaking by the 
Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed ; " and, 2d. That 
"no man can say that Jesus is the Lord but by the 
Holy Spirit." As this passage has received various 
interpretations, it merits a somewhat careful consid- 
eration. In the first of these declarations, Paul is 
supposed by many to refer to the Jewish exorcists 
and others who were wont to invoke imprecations 
upon the name of Christ and upon his followers. In 
the second, he is thought to speak of conversion; 

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and, as some imagine, to affirm that faith is produced 
by a direct operation of the Spirit, or, as others 
think, by the testimony which the Spirit has pro- 
vided in the word of God. It is difficult to see why 
the apostle should here refer to those who were not 
members of the church at all, or to the method by 
which persons became members, when his special 
subject was those spiritual gifts possessed by the 
church itself. A reference to the behavior of Jewish 
exorcists, or to the means of faith, would surely seem 
altogether irrelevant, and without any bearing or ap- 
plication in relation to the matter of which he treats. 
His expressed purpose in this portion of the epistle, 
is to instruct the church in regard to " spiritual 
gifts," and it is his evident aim to correct the notions 
of the Corinthians on that subject, by showing them 
that all these gifts, however various, were bestowed 
by " one and the self-same spirit," and were not for 
personal or individual distinction, but for the benefit 
of the entire church. He therefore compares the 
church to a body, whose members exercise each a 
different office; and shows that even the weakest or 
most uncomely of these, is necessary for the well- 
being of the whole, so that no one had occasion to 
glory in the particular function assigned to him, or 
to esteem himself more highly honored than others 
who fulfilled offices less prominent or distinguished. 

It is in introducing this train of thought, that he 
lays down, in a very emphatic manner, the two gen- 
eral propositions above stated, both of which have a 
direct bearing upon the question of the possession of 



the "one Spirit" by which the unity, the mutual 
sympathy and interdependence of the entire body are 
maintained. "No man," he says, "speaking by the 
Spirit, calleth Jesus accursed (anathema)," and, "no 
man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy 

It should be observed that these propositions are 
not merely private judgments or conclusions enter- 
tained. They are not matters simply believed, for it is 
not said, ' no man taught by the Spirit, believeth Jesus 
accursed,' or 'no man can believe that Jesus is the 
Lord but by the Holy.Spirit,' as the passage is usually 
understood ; but ' no man by the Spirit calleth Jesus 
anathema;' "no man can say that Jesus is the Lord," 
etc. They must be understood, therefore, as being 
public and formal declarations, given under such cir- 
cumstances as to render them, in a special manner, 
tests of the position occupied by him who uttered 
them. It is of course implied, in both cases, that 
these statements proceed from the real convictions of 
the persons uttering them. It is not, however, the en- 
tertaining them, but the uttering oi them, that is here 
the distinguishing test; and it does not seem difficult 
to determine what was the particular case before the 
mind of the apostle here, if we for a moment con- 
sider the circumstances then surrounding the disciples. 
It is well known that they were at this time greatly 
persecuted, especially by the Jews, and that, when ar- 
raigned for judgment, opportunity was given them 
either to deny or to confess Christ. If any one, 
arrested as a disciple, was willing to repeat the usual 



formula, " Jesus anathema," he was released, but all 
who would say that " Jesus is the Lord" were con- 
demned. Here, then, was a public test of fealty to 
Christ with which all were then familiar, and it 
would seem to me to be the most natural view, to re- 
gard this as here directly alluded to, as these two pub- 
lic declarations are here contrasted with each other, 
and made, in the two cases, a test of the absence or 
presence of the Holy Spirit; it being affirmed that 
if any one under such circumstances, in immediate 
peril of life, could say that Jesus is the Lord, it was 
a proof that he did so by the aid of the Spirit of 
God dwelling in him, and imparting to him the 
strength and fortitude necessary to brave the pains 
of martyrdom. On the other hand, the individual 
who would then comply with the demand to say 
" Jesus anathema," gave evidence that he was destitute 
of the Spirit — an unbeliever, and, if numbered with 
the disciples, a hypocrite — one who, like Ananias and 
Sapphira, had united with them from false motives. 
The bearing, then, of this contrast upon the argu- 
ment of the apostle would be this, to teach the Corin- 
thians that there were proofs of the possession of 
the Holy Spirit other than those afforded by super- 
natural gifts, and that in fact any one, even though 
without a special charism, who was able to confess 
Christ before his persecutors, gave sufficient evidence 
by this that he possessed that " one Spirit," and was 
therefore entitled to recognition as a member of the 
"one body." 

Unless this view be taken, the introduction of the 



expression here, "Jesus anathema," would seem strange 
and inexplicable, and its relation to the subject alto- 
gether obscure. Nor would the confession of Christ, 
with which it is contrasted, if supposed the mere 
ordinary acknowledgment of his Messiahship, made 
by all seeming converts, be placed in so determinate 
a position as to justify Paul's language concerning it. 
The case supposed, however, was one probably never 
absent from the mind of Paul. He could himself re- 
call many instances of the kind, for he had been him- 
self a persecutor and had made havoc of the church, 
" delivering unto prisons and to death both men and 
women," destroying them who called on the name of 
Jesus, and compelling others, as he says, " to blas- 
pheme" — to curse or anathematize Christ. To him 
such cases were familiar, and it would certainly be 
entirely natural that he should refer to them as tests 
of the absence or presence and power of that Divine 
Spirit, to which alone the strength to glorify Christ 
by martyrdom could be fairly attributed. It is true 
that the power to contemn death may be given by 
the intoxication of an enthusiasm which does not 
allow men to reflect, or by an apathy equally desti- 
tute of reason, but such cases are comparatively rare 
in the ordinary walks of life, and hardly supposable 
under the profession of the gospel in primitive times, 
enlightened and brought face to face, as the disciples 
then were,>with the realities of the present and of the 
future life. It was their wont, therefore, always to 
recognize, in the calmness and steady purpose of the 
martyr, the immediate power of God. It is worthy 

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of notice, that at the death of Stephen, when they 
"gnashed on him with their teeth" and prepared to 
stone him, it is said, "But he, being full of the Holy 
Spirit, looked up steadfastly into heaven and saw the 
glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand 
of God." It had been said of him, on a former occa- 
sion, when he was selected to office, that he was "full 
of the Holy Spirit," and here, at this eventful moment, 
the statement is repeated, certainly for an important 
reason, since it is this alone which can serve to ac- 
count for the glorious vision* by which his soul was 
strengthened for a cruel death, amidst whose pains his 
last accents besought forgiveness for his murderers. 

It is not at all surprising that the early Christians, 
impressed with the assurance of the Divine presence, 
and of special power to lay down their lives for 
Christ, were often led to offer themselves voluntarily 
to their persecutors, and to hasten thus to the enjoy- 
ment of that blessedness which the gospel revealed, 
as reserved in heaven for the people of God. This 
ardor, however, was disapproved by the more con- 
siderate and thoughtful, as indicating a want of proper 

* It is by no means an unreasonable faith that, to this hour, the saints 
of God have vouchsafed to them, in their dying moments, similar 
bright and consoling visions of the glory of Christ, and of the blessed- 
ness prepared for them. There are on record many remarkable in- 
stances of this in the case of the dying who, in their last moments, 
when the spirit was almost freed from the darkness of its earthly tab- 
ernacle, seem to have gazed in transport upon the wonders of the 
spirit world, and to have passed away, while uttering the name of 
Jesus, or of the dear ones who seemed to await their coming. 



submission to the Divine will, and of patient waiting 
for the Lord. Nevertheless, the fact reveals how 
common and how strong was the assurance of Divine 
support in the hour of trial* 

Although the view of this passage here presented 
to the reader as probably the true one, seems to the 
writer to explain satisfactorily the reason of the con- 
trast made by the apostle, it amounts to the same 

• * It was this confidence that enabled the timid and shrinking female, 
when unable to debate with the philosophers who examined her, to 
say to them, " I can not argue with you, but I can die for Jesus." 

" Cyprian, in his last letter, when in prospect of martyrdom, wrote 
thus to his church : Conformably to the doctrine you have received 
from me, according to the injunction of the Lord, dearest brethren, 
maintain quiet and let no one of you excite dissension among the 
brethren, or voluntarily give himself up to the heathen. When he is 
taken and delivered up, then he must speak; for in that case the Lord 
that dwelleth in us speaks by our mouth." — Memorials of Christian 
Life, p. 86. 

" Perpetua's companion in suffering, Felicitas, was near her con- 
finement, and had much to endure. A heathen slave said to her : ' If 
now you suffer such pain, how will you feel when you are exposed to 
the wild beasts which you made so light of, when you refused to sacri- 
fice ? ' She answered, 1 "What I now suffer, I endure myself alone, 
but then another will be with me, who will suffer for me, because I 
also will suffer for him.'" — Memorials of Christian Life, p. 92. 

Luther, doubtless from his own experience, well remarks to the 
same purpose, in speaking of the assurance of possessing the Holy 
Spirit. " In the time of tribulation, or of the cross and of the confes- 
sion of our faith (which is the proper and principal work of those who 
believe), when we must forsake wife, children, goods, and life, or else 
deny Christ, then it appeareth that we make confession of our faith, 
that we confess Christ and his word, by the power of the Holy 
Spirit." — Luther on Galalians, p. 448. 

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thing, so far as the general argument is concerned, 
if the ability to say that Jesus is Lord, be regarded, 
apart from the supposed test, as belonging to all who 
had received the Holy Spirit. It is entirely proper 
to suppose that all who had truly believed, and had 
afterward received the Holy Spirit, and could there- 
fore say "Abba, Father," would be ready to confess 
Christ, as martyrs, if arraigned in judgment; and 
Paul may be understood to affirm here merely that 
all who could thus truly call Jesus Lord, did so by 
the Spirit dwelling in them, and were hence at once 
to be recognized as members of the body of Christ, 
even if they possessed no special spiritual gift. It 
would seem, then, to be the object of the apostle, 
whichever view be taken, to teach the Corinthians, 
who were full of vain glory as to their spiritual gifts, 
that the possession of these was not at all needed to 
prove the indwelling of the Spirit, since even the 
humblest and weakest member who had received 
no power either to work a miracle, to speak with 
tongues, or to perform any other mighty work, gave, 
nevertheless, sufficient evidence that he had the 
Spirit of Christ, by his ability truly to acknowledge 
Jesus as Lord, in presence of those dangers which, 
at that time, rendered this public confession a con- 
stant and sufficient test of discipleship. Having 
made this general statement, the apostle now goes 
on to speak of the particular gifts or charisms con- 
ferred upon the Church, declaring that there were 
"different gifts" but "the same Spirit;" "different 
administrations but the same Lord," and "diversi- 

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ties of operations," but " the same God which work- 
eth all in all," particularizing thus the three Divine 
manifestations, and at the same time maintaining 
the Divine unity in the declaration, "it is the same 
God which worketh all in all." * 

As it would not be conducive to the main purpose 
of this treatise to enter upon a particular considera- 
tion of the " spiritual gifts " of the primitive church, 

* We may note here, that Paul in the beginning makes thus a three- 
fold division of the spiritual endowments (irveviiariKuw) of which he 
treats in this chapter. This division is into — I. Charisms (xaptafi&Ta, 
free or special gifts) ; 2. Administrations (diaicoviai, ministries) ; and 
3. Operations (kvepyqfiaTa, inworkings). The first seems to include 
those limited and particular gifts, conferred for congregational benefit. 
Timothy had a special gift of this kind conferred upon him (1 Tim. 
iv: 14; 2 Tim. i: 6), and was exhorted to exercise it. The second 
comprehended a wider, or higher class — "administrations;" that is, 
spiritual services and capacities of an official nature. Thus, for these, 
it is said (Eph. iv: 12), "he gave apostles, prophets, pastors and teach- 
ers." So in Col. iv : 1 7 : " Say to Archippus, Take heed to the min- 
istry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfill it." In 
I Tim. i : 12, Paul says : " He counted me faithful, putting me into 
the ministry ." The third class embraces "inworkings" — connected 
in verse 10 with "powers" (dvvdfieuv) — rendered "working of mira- 
cles," but to be taken in a more general sense, as referring to all su- 
pernatural internal energies communicated — the impulse — the faith as 
well as the power. In the 6th verse, these are attributed to God ; and 
in the nth, it is said of all these different endowments: "All these 
worketh (hepyh, inworketh) that one and the self-same Spirit divid- 
ing to every man severally as he will," the manifestation ((ftavipuoic) 
of the Spirit being given to every man [or in all cases] for the "profit " 
or advantage of the whole body. The Spirit is here represented as 
♦dividing as he wills. 1 Personality is thus clearly ascribed to him. 
Again, these " inworkings," in the 6th verse ascribed to God, are, in 
the nth, ascribed to the Spirit, thus involving Divinity. 


some of the facts relating to them will here alone be 
stated. These gifts, together with the circumstances 
which required them, have long since passed away, 
and the true nature of many of them remains un- 
known, and probably could be made known by noth- 
ing short of a practical exemplification. As this is 
no longer possible, any labored effort to define them 
accurately or to explain them intelligibly, would be 
unprofitable. A few general conclusions only may 
with certainty be deduced from the accounts we have 
of them. 

1. The special " gifts" (^apca/idra, charisms, spirit- 
ual endowments) in each congregation, as well as the 
inspired official persons furnished in primitive times, 
were designed for the confirmation and full develop- 
ment of the gospel. For this end, persons called apos- 
tles, prophets, pastors, teachers, etc., were provided 
and supernaturally qualified, and exercised accord- 
ingly their various gifts, whether these related to 
the instruction of the Church, and to its social life 
and duties, or to the conversion of the world. Each 
congregation was evidently furnished, to a greater or 
less extent, with special functionaries, who were ena- 
bled to fulfill their duties by immediate illumination 
from the Spirit. The Church is, hence, repeatedly 
compared to a body possessing many members, each 
fulfilling a different office, but all required for the 
growth and perfection of the whole. Rom. xii : 4-8 ; 
i Cor. xii: 12-30. 

2. These gifts zvere to be exercised, not beyond, ' but 
according to the ability which God gave! 1 Peter iv : 

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1 1. That is, persons inspired were not to allow them- 
selves to be carried away by excitement, so as to be 
in danger of mistaking the imaginations of their own 
hearts for the revelations of the Spirit, or of ming- 
ling these together. Of this there seems to have 
been danger, so mysterious, and in many respects 
so similar, are the workings of the Divine Spirit 
and of the human spirit, man having been, as to 
his spiritual nature, created in the image of God. 
Hence, there seems to have been imparted, in many 
cases at least, a special consciousness or assurance, 
termed " faith," which was not the faith of justifica- 
tion, but a peculiar felt confidence in the possession 
of Divine power, beyond which it was not proper to 
attempt the exercise of any gift. This "faith," Paul 
(1 Cor. xii: 9) speaks of as a special endowment, and 
his language seems to imply that it was not bestowed 
upon all, as indeed it may not have been needed in 
regard to every charism. In the more important 
ones, especially such as had respect to the presen- 
tation of Divine truth by inspiration, it was doubt- 
less most important. Thus Paul himself is particu- 
lar to distinguish between the conclusions of his own 
mind and the direct revelations of the Spirit (1 Cor. 
vii: 6, 10, 12, 40), and, in regard to some required 
regulations, he even invokes the concurrence of the 
human judgment (1 Cor. x: 15 ; xi: 13, etc.), thus, at 
the same moment, marking the distinction as well as 
the consentaneity between the Divine and the hu- 
man spirit. In regard to this peculiar "faith," he 
says (Rom. xii : 6) : " Having, then, gifts differing 

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according to the grace that is given to us, whether 
prophecy, let us prophesy according to the propor- 
tion of faith," etc. Hence the need of the apostolic 
warning to every one who possessed a charism, "not 
to think of himself more highly than he ought to 
think"— that is, not to overrate the degree of spir- 
itual insight or other supernatural power imparted 
to him, but to estimate himself in this respect wisely 
and reasonably, " according as God has dealt to ev- 
ery man the [measure or] proportion of faith." Rom. 
xii : 3. The measure of this peculiar " faith," then, 
indicated precisely the extent to which the "cha- 
rism " reached ; just as 6i the measure of the gift of 
Christ" (Eph. iv: 7) was that of the grace by which 
it had been bestowed or by which it was attended. 

This special "faith," connected with the exercise 
of the Spiritual gifts, has sometimes been confounded 
with the ordinary faith of the gospel. Its general 
nature as faith, trust, confidence, was undoubtedly 
the same, and it has been hence difficult to make the 
proper distinction. It differed, however, in that it 
was a special and direct gift independent of external 
testimony, and seems to have been a special power or 
ability to apply, in the exercise of miraculous power, 
that confidence in God which must be the true basis 
of every religious act. "Faith's great work," the 
sainted Leighton well observes, " is to renounce self- 
power, and to bring in the power of God to be ours." 
It is easy to perceive how great the danger of error 
and failure here, when men were endowed with super- 
natural gifts, and how readily human vanity might 

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ensnare the possessor. Hence, the need of some 
specific internal guide or standard, equally direct and 
Divine as the Spiritual gift itself, and immediately 
associated with the exercise of this gift, both as 
limiting its extent and indicating its source. The 
disciples, (Mark ix : 18,) attempted to cast out a 
demon, but were unable to do so. Their faith had 
been to some extent, at least, replaced by reliance on 
themselves. Christ expressly attributed their failure 
to want of faith, and of that prayerfulness and seek- 
ing after God, through which, both the faith and the 
power to perform the miracle would doubtless have 
been given. The Divine impulse to work any mira- 
cle or deliver any revelation, was thus to be attended 
by a present consciousness of Divine power to do it, 
beyond which, the individual was not at liberty to go. 
This power was thus distinguishable from any mere 
human ability. " Why look ye so earnestly on us, ,, 
said Peter in the temple porch, " as though by our 
own power or holiness we had made this man to walk ? " 
Acts iii: 12. In like manner, this " faith" to work 
miracles was distinguishable from the faith of justifi- 
cation. A man might be furnished with this faith 
and the accompanying power "to remove mount- 
ains," and yet, if devoid of love, be as " sounding 
brass or a tinkling cymbal." But true justifying faith 
can have no existence apart from that love through 
which alone it w r orks and is perfected. 

3. The person possessing spiritual gifts had a certain 
control over them. Inspiration, for instance, was not 
an ungovernable "afflatus" or ecstasy, like that of 

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the Pythia on her tripod, or the ravings of other hea- 
then hierophants. " The spirits of the prophets," says 
Paul, "are subject to the prophets," and hence it was 
in the power of the inspired person to repress the 
exercise of his gift and even to " quench the Spirit," 
I Thess. v: 19; or, on the other hand, to regulate 
the manifestation of the supernatural powers con- 
ferred, in conformity with the instructions of one 
more highly endowed. Thus Paul : " Let the prophets 
speak, two or three, and let the other judge. If any 
thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the 
first hold his peace. For ye may all prophesy one 
by one," etc. 1 Cor. xiv: 29-31. The reason given 
for these regulations is, that peace may be preserved 
and confusion avoided. The existence of this power 
furnishes a striking proof of the care taken to leave 
the human will supreme and free, since thus only 
could man continue to be a moral agent, accountable 
for the use made of his privileges, faculties, and gifts. 
The same observation may be made also, in relation 
to the indwelling Holy Spirit himself, apart from any 
special charism, that the human will was still left free 
to determine, in the last resort, for itself, however it 
might be instructed and prompted by the Spirit. It 
was thus always possible to refuse consent to his 
monitions, impulses, or pleadings, and to so prefer to 
" walk under the flesh," and " turn aside from the 
holy commandment" given, as to "grieve the Holy 
Spirit " and occasion his withdrawal. Heb. vi : 4-6* 

* In the case of a person possessed by a demon, the latter seems to 



As the Spirit employed the bodily organs of speech, 
there is no room to doubt that he made use also of the 
mental acquirements and moral characteristics, pe- 
culiar to' each individual, bringing these into natural 
action, while imparting at the same time supernatural 
illumination or guidance. The manifestation of the 
gift, accordingly, so far as manner, style of language, 
etc., were concerned, would necessarily blend, with 
the substance of the Divine communication, more or 
less of the individuality of the speaker or writer, as is 
found to be the case in the evangelistic and apostolic 
writings. As there was thus a conjoint and syn- 
chronous action of the human and Divine spirits, it 
is easy to conceive that the human faculties, whether 
of mind or body, were still allowed to remain under 
the final control of the human will; and that there 
was hence the utmost pertinency in the instructions 
of the apostles, as to the exercising of these gifts in an 
orderly and edifying manner. It was possible, as well 
as proper, for one prophet to be silent, when some- 

have been allowed to have control of the human will, or at least so to 
divide with it the rule of the being, as to create a state of inexpressible 
torment and constant warfare. It is difficult to conceive of a more 
terrible condition than this, when the spirit of man is dethroned, and 
a malignant emissary of Satan is permitted to maintain unending con- 
flict amidst the powers of the inner nature, and to array, as in delirium 
tremens, in the very penetralia of the soul, specters more fearful than 
" fables yet have feigned or fear conceived " — to afflict the body with 
disease and the soul with spiritual pollution ! Such a condition might 
be conceived as permitted, in consequence of habitual sin — a constant 
yielding to temptation — a seeking after and encouraging the spirit of 



thing was revealed to another sitting by, which de- 
manded utterance at that particular moment. It is 
evident, also, that the different gifts were called forth 
as the circumstances and the occasion required, and 
that proper attention was to be paid to the dicta- 
tions and promptings of the Spirit through different 

Upon the whole, then, it may be observed, that the 

* Many vain attempts have been made, to fix and define the nature 
of the supernatural operations of the Spirit. Some look upon them as 
simply " mechanical," a mere temporary moving of the natural powers, 
aided for the time. Others regard them as " organical " or " dynami- 
cal," as animating and vivifying the " spiritual faculty " in man, and 
heightening its energy and capacity. But little if any benefit, how- 
ever, can arise from such efforts, though they may amuse the mind or 
fill it with the notion of superior knowledge. Words of " learned 
length," such as " mechanical," "organical," " dynamical," really ex- 
plain nothing artd reveal nothing, though they may be sufficiently con- 
venient in our classifications. We know really nothing of the essential 
nature of that power which the human spirit exerts, and often at the 
same time, upon the intellectual, the moral, and the physical organisms. 
As to the nature of the miraculous power which the Spirit of God has 
exerted or may exert, it is just as inexplicable as creation itself to the 
human intellect. 

One thing is worthy of notice, that there seems to be a singular con- 
nection between a peculiar exalted state of feeling and Divine com- 
munications. The mind would appear to be sometimes in an unfit 
state to be acted on, and needing to be attuned or brought into har- 
monious relation with the things to be revealed, before it can receive or 
deliver them. The effect of music in creating or bringing about this 
softened or receptive state of mind and feeling is remarkable. It was 
employed for this very purpose by Elisha, 2 Kings iii : 15. Its power 
Over the spiritual nature is illustrated also in the case of Saul, king of 
Israel. David's love of music, and his exercise of the gift, had, 
doubtless, much to do with the production of the Psalms. 



" spiritual gifts " were designed for the " profit " or 
benefit of the church, as the functions of the eye or 
the ear are intended, not for itself alone, but for the 
body. They were given and distributed, as the 
Holy Spirit pleased, for general edification, and are 
to be distinguished from the indwelling of the Spirit 
himself, as the human spirit is to be distinguished 
from any of the organs through which it* works. A 
spiritual gift could, it seems, be conferred directly, 
or by the laying on of the hands of those officially 
authorized, and it might be imparted to one already 
in possession of the Spirit of adoption ; or, on the 
other hand, to one who did not possess this. In 
other words, these gifts, though imparted by the 
Spirit, are to be distinguished from that indwelling 
presence of the Spirit which was common to all 
Christians, and to which these gifts might be super- 
added, or from which they might be subtracted, 
without at all affecting the permanent and essen- 
tial work and office of the Comforter. The Spirit 
of God could employ any agency suited to his pur- 
pose, whether intellectual, moral, or physical, quite 
independently of his abiding as the Paraclete in the 
agent so employed. Hence, the possession of a 
charism in no case necessarily involved sanctifying 
power, or a state of sanctification and acceptance 
with God. The Spirit had imparted miraculous 
powers in all ages, and to various descriptions of 
persons and things — to Moses and to Moses' rod, 
to the living Elisha as well as to his bones. It had 
spoken by Balaam and by Balaam's ass, and wrought 

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miracles as well by Judas Iscariot * as by James or 
John ; and as readily by the shadow of Peter, or by 
handkerchiefs from Paul, as by their actual presence. 
Persons possessing supernatural powers, in all ages, 
are to be contemplated merely as agents or agencies 
through which the Spirit operated, and these powers 
are to be regarded as entirely distinguishable and 
separable from that indwelling presence of the Spirit, 
which is the characteristic of the Christian Institu- 
tion ; by which believers were "sealed to the day of 
redemption," and a Divine unity established in the 
body of Christ. 

Hence, though one were gifted with the tongues 
of men and of angels, and had the power of proph- 
ecy, and understood all mysteries and all knowledge, 
and had the gift of faith to remove mountains, he 
might yet be, so far as concerned the conditions of 
salvation, as mere sounding brass or a tinkling cym- 
bal, being without the justification which is by faith, 
as formerly remarked. It were impossible that this 
could be his state, if the mere possession of these 
powers implied necessarily the indwelling of the 
Spirit. These manifestations were for a limited 
time, and for temporary purposes only, as Paul ex- 
pressly declares, i Cor. xiv: 8: "Whether there be 
prophecies, they shall fail ; whether there be tongues, 
they shall cease ; whether there be knowledge, it 
shall vanish away." But there was to be no ter- 
mination or cessation in regard to those "fruits of 

* Compare Luke vi: 13, with ix: 1. 

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the Spirit" which appertained to the moral and re- 
ligious life, and which, in 1 Cor. xiv, the apostle 
engrosses under the comprehensive term "love," * 
as truly characteristic manifestations of the Spirit 
of the New Institution, and proofs of that Divine 
unity, that "abiding" in Christ, without which these 
fruits could not appear. For love is the great mo- 
tive power which the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in 
the heart. " The love of God," says Paul, " is shed 
abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given unto 
us;" that is, the Holy Spirit sheds abroad in the 
heart God's love to us in Christ, creating and main- 
taining thereby our love to him, and thus assuring 
the observance of his commandments. Hence it 

* Thus, in the description of the effects of charity or love, it will be 
seen that Paul embraces long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, temper- 
ance, patience, etc., qualities which, in Gal. v: 22, 23, he enumerates, 
apart from love, under their distinctive names. In Corinthians, he con- 
templates love as really comprehending in itself all Christian graces. 
In Galatians, he presents them in connection with love, but apart, and 
as equally fruits of the Spirit. Thus he here gives "faith" as one of 
the fruits of the Spirit, while, in 1 Cor. xiv : 7, he describes " love " as 
"believing all things." This is a beautiful representation of the state 
of mind produced by love, for when any one is greatly loved, he is 
readily trusted. Love gives such a preparation of heart, that we im- 
plicitly receive whatever is related to us, just as the child receives from 
its mother the lessons of the nursery with equal confidence, whether 
these be fanciful or true. Where, in Galatians v : 23, faith is given as 
one of the fruits of the Spirit, the proper rendering would be trustful- 
ness — t. e., that recipient condition of mind which results from love. 
It should be noted here that, in this enumeration, "love" is mentioned 
first and placed at the head of the list, as the most important, being, 
indeed, the source of all the rest. 


may comprehensively include every active attribute 
of character appertaining to the Christian life in 
the world, and be justly regarded as "the fulfilling 
of the law," the "end of the commandment," the aim 
of the practical teaching of the gospel. This, how- 
ever, could not be affirmed of the spiritual gifts im- 
parted to the Church, the exercise of which, so far 
from producing love, seems, through the fallibility 
of human nature, to have tended to confusion and 
discord ; and the possession of which led to self-glo- 
rification and pride. 1 Cor. viii: 1-3; xiv: 23-32. 
These gifts were bestowed during the childhood of 
the Church, to supply the instruction and intellect- 
ual guidance needed, until 'all should come in the 
unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son 
of God unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the 
stature of the fullness of Christ/ This knowledge 
and guidance, given in appropriate lessons as circum- 
stances required, and reflected from many minds, like 
light from the polished facets of a globe, illuminated 
and cheered, but it was lpve alone which, resting on 
faith, and animated by hope, could permanently build 
up and establish the church of the Living God. 1 Cor. 
viii: I. 

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Manifestations of the Spirit prior to Pentecost — Compared with Mirac- 
ulous Powers of Apostolic Age — Differ from the Gift of the Holy 
Spirit — Speculation and Sensuism — Different Dispensations of Re- 
ligion — Position of the People of God under the Patriarchal, Jew- 
ish, and Christian Institutions. 

IT is from the point of view afforded by the super- 
natural powers and revelations imparted under 
the personal ministry of Christ and the apostles, that 
we may best contemplate the manifestations of the 
Spirit recorded in the Old Testament. When thus 
regarded, they appear to be evidently of the same 
nature. The Old Testament saints, Christ's per- 
sonal followers and the spiritually gifted individuals 
of the primitive church, as such, seem to have oc- 
cupied precisely the same position in relation to the 
Paraclete of the New Institution, however great or 
different in other respects their privileges and bless- 
ings. That is to say, none of them can be consid- 
ered as having, by virtue of their special gifts, re- 
ceived the promised Comforter, though all alike pos- 
sessed supernatural powers, or received direct Di- 
vine communications. 

The common view, I am aware, is, that the patri- 
archs and eminent men who feared God in ancient 
times, were similarly situated with those who live 




under the gospel dispensation, as to all essential re- 
ligious blessings. It is supposed that they enjoyed, 
by anticipation, the indwelling presence of the Spirit, 
since, apart from the circumstances and institutions 
under which they lived, they had attained to faith in 
God ; "walked with God were obedient to his com- 
mandments, and received manifold tokens of the Di- 
vine favor in special communications and deliverances. 
As the presence of the Comforter is admitted to be 
essential now to the assurance and enjoyment of the 
favor of God, it is taken for granted that it was essen- 
tial in all ages, and that, hence, Enoch, Noah, Abra- 
ham, Elijah and all the ancient saints, possessed the 
Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit, in the same sense as 
Christians after Pentecost. The promise of the Spirit, 
it is indeed admitted, did not belong to the dispensa- 
tions under which the patriarchs lived, but irrespect- 
ive of these institutions, and, as it were, in advance 
of them, it is supposed that the ancient saints had 
attained to that sincere and perfect faith and prepa- 
ration of heart which, under the New Institution, is 
the only prerequisite to the reception of the Holy 
Spirit, and that they, consequently, enjoyed its bless- 
ings. It must be acknowledged that this view is one 
easily gathered from a cursory survey of the subject, 
and that it is not devoid of plausibility and apparent 
consistency. It is, hence, very generally entertained. 
It seems, nevertheless, to the writer, to be incompati- 
ble with the teachings of Scripture, and to have been 
adopted by way of relief from a perplexing and diffi- 
cult question, rather than from careful inquiry and due 

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reflection upon the state of mankind at different peri- 
ods and under different religious systems. It will, 
therefore, be expedient to give to this question a can- 
did and somewhat full consideration. 

As said before, the term " Spirit," where the refer- 
ence is to the " Spirit of God," occurs comparatively 
but seldom in the Old Testament. "Holy Spirit" is 
found but twice (Ps. li: n, and Isa. lxiii: 10). The 
whole of the Old Testament shows that the idea of 
the Spirit, as revealed in the New Testament, was 
but dimly apprehended under former dispensations. 
Nevertheless, the divine nature of the Spirit, and his 
unity with God, are clearly shown. The Spirit is re- 
vealed as incubating the waters from which the earth 
proceeded. It appears, if the common interpretation 
be correct, as striving with men in their apostasy 
(Gen. vi : 3) ; as endowing with prophetic power 
God's chosen ministers of warning and deliverance, 
and as confirming often their mission by miraculous 
powers. He gave signs and wonders to be per- 
formed by Moses; he imparted unwonted mechan- 
ical skill to Bezaleel, Aholiab, and others (Ex. xxviii : 
3; xxxi: 2-6; xxxv : 31); physical strength to Samp- 
son ; wisdom to Solomon ; inspiration and power to 
Elijah and the prophets, down to the close of the Old 
Testament canon — through a period much longer 
than that in which such gifts continued in the Chris- 
tian Church. It is to be remarked, however, that, in 
all these cases in which the Spirit is declared, or 
may be regarded, as the agent, the effects attributed 
are supernatural and quite aside from the ordinary 

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course of things, and that, in none of them, is there 
any indication of the impartation of the Spirit, as 
the spirit of adoption and of love, to control the 
moral and religious nature. David, indeed, says, 
" Quicken me with thy free Spirit," and again, "Take 
not thy Holy Spirit from me;" but David was an 
inspired prophet and poet, and might well employ 
such expressions in reference to the enrapturing 
visions and divine illuminations which he enjoyed 
as a prophet, without the slightest allusion, unless 
a merely typical one, to the Holy Spirit of the New 
Institution. Throughout the ancient biblical rec- 
ords, indeed, the manifestations of the Spirit are 
constantly for the accomplishment of purposes of a 
special, extraordinary, and generally temporary na- 
ture — as in the deliverance of Israel from bondage, 
and in the establishment and occasional restoration 
of the Jewish theocracy. 

When these manifestations are compared with 
those signs and wonders which attended the introduc- 
tion and development of the gospel, they appear to be 
plainly of the same nature. They were all equally 
direct operations of the Spirit, supernatural, special, 
and transient. The possession or exercise of these 
powers neither required holiness on the part of the 
agent, nor did it appear to have any tendency to pro- 
duce it, as may be seen as well in the case of Balaam 
as in that of Judas Iscariot, or even in that of other 
disciples, who, upon their return from the perform- 
ance of miracles, needed the admonitions of their 
Master to repress their pride. Luke x : 20. These 

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powers, like all the charisms of the Christian church, 
were thus quite independent of that indwelling of the 
Spirit which was the peculiar feature of the New In- 
stitution, and the earnest of an eternal inheritance. 
They were temporary; this was to abide forever. 
They were endowments imparted to the physical or 
intellectual natures ; this was a gift bestowed upon 
the heart. They were fragmentary, partial, and fitful ; 
but this, complete, universal, and permanent. The 
miraculous powers, indeed, seem to have had no 
particular connection with the proper "gift of the 
Spirit," except that on Pentecost and some subsequent 
occasions, they were occasionally conferred at the 
same time, and were in themselves immediate mani- 
festations of the Divine power and presence, for the 
special purpose of confirming the gospel. They were, 
undoubtedly ^communicated by the Spirit of God, just 
as from the beginning, such powers had been com- 
municated ; but they did not establish, any more than 
in former times, those relations between the person 
of the believer and the Holy Spirit, which were to 
distinguish the gospel dispensation from every other. 
Those who possessed merely these powers could not 
be said to have received the Holy Spirit in the New 
Testament sense. They had received certain powers 
only, as Christ gave to his disciples 1 power over un- 
clean spirits, and to heal diseases/ In a certain 
sense, it could be said that the Spirit was "in" them, 
or "upon" them since, for the time, it exalted or 
superseded natural ability and worked through or by 
them in accomplishing its purposes, whether of illu- 

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ruination or of confirmation, but it could not be said 
that they had received the Holy Spirit or the Para- 
clete, as that special manifestation or impartation 
which was peculiar to the Gospel Institution. 

This distinction between the indwelling of the 
Spirit himself, and the particular miraculous powers 
which he was pleased to confer upon individuals for 
certain purposes, is one of no little moment, however 
difficult of comprehension it may be, from the mys- 
tery which naturally appertains to the entire subject, 
as well as from the difficulty of expressing, in human 
speech, "those things of the Spirit" which may, 
nevertheless, be realized in human experience. The 
Spirit of God employs human language in order to 
reveal himself to us objectively, and he never becomes 
otherwise than objectively known to those who rest 
content with a superficial knowledge of words, and 
mistake mere ideas and definitions for realities. 

In religious matters, it may be remarked, that men 
are prone to two different extremes or species of 
error, viz., speculation and sensuism — a vain and de- 
ceitful philosophy, or a gross materialism which 
would subject every thing to the judgment of the 
senses. In ancient times, the Greeks sought after 
"wisdom," and, in the middle ages, the schoolmen 
were captivated by the intellectual pleasure connected 
with a philosophy which still lingers in the so-called 
" Divinity " of modern days ; but, in all ages, the 
errors of sensuism have been far more common with 
the mass of mankind. As the Jews sought after a 
sign, so it has been usual for men to exalt or exagger- 

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ate sensible demonstrations, so that the outward 
manifestations of the Spirit in supernatural works, 
have, hence, absorbed their attention and occupied 
their thoughts, as if these were primary or chief mat- 
ters and the true and only evidences of the presence 
of the Spirit. Down even to modern times, the tend- 
ency is to seek in some feeling, some fancied unusual 
sight, or sound or vision, a sensible evidence, where 
the word of God alone should be heard, and faith 
only should be followed. Men, evermore, desire 
something that addresses itself to the physical rather 
than to the moral nature, and which, by reducing 
religion to some external form, or some momentary 
flash of superstitious wonderment, may serve them 
as a substitute for a self-denying obedience, and a 
renovation of the heart and life. 

The state of the Jewish people, during our Lord's 
ministry, affords a clear -illustration of this con- 
tinual earthward tendency of human nature. So 
filled were they with worldly and selfish anticipations 
in regard to the Messiah's kingdom, that they were 
unable to recognize in the meek and lowly Saviour 
the Hope of Israel. Their hearts had become gross, 
their eyes were closed against the light, their ears 
were unable to hear the still small voice of truth. 
They came to Jesus not to receive instruction, but 
"desiring him that he would show them a sign from 
heaven." Giving no heed to the evidences before 
them, they could not discern " the signs of the times," 
though alert in material things to discern "the signs 
of the sky," The Great Teacher hence declared : 

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i 5 8 


"A wicked and adulterous generation secketh after a 
sign, and there shall no sign be given unto it but the 
sign of the prophet Jonas." It was not by external 
marvels, by might, or physical power, that men's souls 
were to be saved ; but by the love of God displayed 
in the redemptive work of Christ. His death for sin, 
his burial and his resurrection on the third day, 
typified in the deliverance of Jonah, were to consti- 
tute a "sign" which should be to the saved, the 
wisdom and the power of God in the soul. The gos- 
pel facts in their sublime simplicity, their immovable 
permanency, their far-reaching relations, were to .be 
such a revelation of the love of God to the human 
heart, as to disarm its enmity, purify its affections, 
and establish therein, through the Holy Spirit, the 
righteousness, peace, and joy of the kingdom of 

The Scribes and Pharisees, however, had neither 
eyes to see the spiritual realities of Christ's true 
kingdom, nor hearts to comprehend them. Hence it 
was, that the glowing oriental imagery of the prophets, 
no less than the parables of Jesus, served to blind and 
mislead them. Nor are there wanting to this hour, 
multitudes who, from a similar condition of mind, 
are unable to discriminate between the gift of the 
Paraclete on Pentecost and "those wonders in heaven 
above," those "signs on the earth beneath," the 
*' blood and fire and vapor of smoke," by which, in 
prophetic imagery or in reality, this gift was heralded 
or accompanied. Confounding its accidents and con- 
comitants with the gift itself, or regarding these as 

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inseparable and essential, they occupy themselves 
with those transient and external manifestations, 
which were specially appropriate when the apostles 
first stood up to preach the gospel to the world, and 
when a vision of separated fiery tongues was an apt 
and striking emblem of their mission, and a visible 
exhibition of their credentials. Modern enthusiasts 
ignorantly and presumptuously still pray, but always 
in vain, for "fire;" for visible tokens ; for audible voices 
from the unseen ; they still " seek after a sign," they 
still strive to bring Christ from above, or from 
beneath, in some tangible or sensible form, while, at 
the same time, they turn a deaf ear to the word that 
is "nigh" them, even to "the word of faith" preached 
by the apostles, which, to the believing heart, re- 
veals, in all its spiritual power, the sign of Jonas 
the prophet. 

It will be admitted, that the miracles wrought by 
the Spirit of God, in the time of the Jewish Insti- 
tution, were decisive, stupendous, and wonderful. 
Those which were performed by the Saviour are de- 
clared to be greater still — more immediate and strik- 
ing acts of Divine power. These miracles, performed 
during Christ's personal ministry, were certainly not 
inferior to those which occurred under the ministry 
of the apostles. Now, if the impartation of these 
powers is not to be distinguished from the gift of 
the Holy Spirit, then the day of Pentecost could no 
longer be that "great and notable day of the Lord," 
as declared by Joel and by Peter, upon which the 
outpouring of the Spirit was to take place. Things 

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as great and notable had been done before, so far as 
miracles were concerned. These had been common 
to all dispensations and ages. They had been 
especially and wonderfully displayed, during Christ's 
personal ministry, in the period immediately preced- 
ing the day of Pentecost, yet this was to be a "great 
and notable day ; " distinguished from all others, fore- 
told with, special fervor by an ancient prophet, par- 
ticularly indicated by Christ himself, and anxiously 
waited for by the apostles at Jerusalem. They were, 
then, not waiting merely for miraculous powers. 
These had been as fully displayed before. They 
had themselves previously possessed and exer- 
cised these. The "power" with which they were 
now to be endowed "from on high," was of a differ- 
ent nature, and hence it was, that while they could 
work no greater miracles than before, they were 
themselves transformed into different men, and be- 
came to the world living miracles, so to speak, of 
moral and spiritual power ; of patient suffering ; of 
faith ; of knowledge ; of purity ; of humility and love. 

In determining that miraculous power was a matter 
quite distinct from the bestowment of the " earnest of 
the Spirit" upon believers under the new covenant, we 
are not, however, left to reason from the general facts 
of Scripture. There are many direct and unequivocal 
evidences of this truth. For example : Christ, in his 
personal ministry, sent the twelve, by two and two, to 
preach the kingdom of God, and " gave them power 
and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases," 
(Luke ix: i,) or as Matthew (x: i, 8,) expresses it, 

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"gave them power against unclean spirits to cast 
them out, and to heal all manner of sickness, and all 
manner of disease." Again, on a subsequent occa- 
sion, he sent forth the seventy on a similar mission, 
and with similar powers, and so successful were they, 
that they exclaimed with joy, upon their return, 
"Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through 
thy name." On this occasion, Jesus, before whose 
eyes the secrets of the spiritual world were con- 
stantly unvailed, assures them that he had himself 
seen " Satan as lightning fall from heaven," that this 
" Prince of the power of the air " had, indeed, been 
vanquished and dispossessed of the empire he had 
usurped over the bodies and souls of men. "Be- 
hold," says he, " I give you power to tread on ser- 
pents and scorpions, and over all the power of the 
enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you." 
At the same time, he warns them, not to rejoice that 
the spirits were subject to them, but that their names 
were " written in heaven." He turns away their atten- 
tion from manifestations of power, to a higher blessed- 
ness, and, rejoicing himself in spirit, in that revelation 
of the Father which he was empowered to make, he 
exclaims, " I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven 
and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the 
wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto 
babes." "All things," he adds, "are delivered to me 
of my Father, and no man knoweth who the Son is, 
but the Father ; and who the Father is, but the Son, 
and he to whom the Son will reveal him." The time, 
indeed, for the fullness of this peculiar revelation had 

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not yet arrived. Its preliminary facts and truths 
and evidences, were only in process of development. 
The redemptive work must first be accomplished, 
and that knowledge of the Father and of the Son, 
here spoken of, was of necessity reserved to a later 
period. Even at the near approach of this appointed 
time, he says to the disciples : " If ye had known me, 
ye should have known my Father also." But he an- 
nounces to them that he would send them another 
Comforter, and that, after the world for a little while 
should see him no more, he would come to them. 
"At that day" said he, "you shall know that I am in 
my Father, and ye in me, and I in you/ And 
when the disciples asked how he would manifest 
himself to them and not unto the world, the reply was : 
" If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my 
Father will love him, and we will come unto him 
and make our abode with him." John xiv : 23. An 
experimental knowledge of the Divine life, a partici- 
pation in that mysterious spiritual unity jwhich the 
gospel was to establish, could be effected only through 
the impartation of the Spirit, and God was to give his 
Holy Spirit, at the appointed time, only to those who 
would "obey him." Acts v: 32. 

It is not, indeed, to be denied that the privileges 
and blessings enjoyed by the disciples during Christ's 
personal ministry were transcendently great. In re- 
spect to every thing that had preceded in the Divine 
communications with men, their opportunities and ad- 
vantages were great beyond comparison. " Blessed," 
said Jesus to them, "are the eyes which see the things 

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that ye see, for I tell you, that many prophets and 
kings have desired to see those things which ye see, 
and have not seen them, and to hear those things 
which ye hear, and have not heard them." They en- 
joyed the precious privilege of seeing and hearing 
God manifest in the flesh, of beholding, with their 
natural eyes, the glory of the only Begotten of the 
Father, full of grace and truth, and of hearing, with 
mortal human ears, the gracious words which fell 
from his lips. They were, moreover, the constant 
objects of his personal care and solicitude, his spir- 
itual watchfulness and guidance. He was their first 
"Comforter," supporter, and loving Divine keeper 
and instructor. It is impossible to describe the 
charm of that mysterious attachment, which grew 
up in their simple natures, for one whom others 
rejected and despised, but who was to them more 
than father or mother, wife or children, houses or 
lands — for whom, indeed, they had forsaken all 
things, and in whom alone they had placed their 
hope and trust. No terms can portray the sweet 
enchantment of that affectionate intimacy; of that 
unreserved and unaffected candor ; that guileless, yet 
wondering and not unquestioning reliance on the 
part of the disciples; much less can it depict that 
ineffable tenderness, sympathy and love, ever mani- 
fested by the Redeemer, for those whom he himself 
had chosen and ordained ; for those whom the Father 
had given him out of the world. "Fear not," said 
he, "little flock; it is the Father's good pleasure to 
give you the kingdom." "Ye are they who have 

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continued with me in my tribulations." "The Fa- 
ther himself loveth you, because you have loved rac, 
and have believed that I came out from God." He 
extenuated their faults, he enlightened their igno- 
rance, he touchingly apprized them of his approach- 
ing sufferings and of his necessary departure, he 
soothed their apprehensions, he anticipated their 
dangers. He gathered them around him, at a final 
interview, and oh, wondrous example of humility and 
love! "poureth water into a basin and began to wash 
their feet, and to wipe them with the towel where- 
with he was girded." And, finally, in anticipation of 
the unspeakable culmination of redeeming love, he 
administered to them the symbols of his own body 
and blood, soon to be given for them upon the cross 
of Calvary ! 

It is not, however, by the intimacy and the extent 
of those moral and spiritual relations which subsisted 
between Christ and his disciples, that the superficial 
and sensuous would estimate the privileges which the 
latter enjoyed, so much as by the striking fact that 
he shared with them his Divine power, and imparted 
to them authority over demons, and ability to cure 
by a touch all manner of diseases. Such outward 
proofs, appealing to the senses, demanding no spir- 
itual discernment, enforcing no lessons of humility, 
but displaying the majesty and power of Deity before 
the world, have, as we have before observed, in all 
ages captivated the minds of men, and filled them 
with wonder and superstitious fear. These things, 
they are ready to say, are surely of God. These 

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powers demonstrate that those who exercise them 
possess the Spirit of God. Whatever may be said 
about an internal "witness," a "change of heart," a 
'strengthening of the inner man/ here, at least, is 
something visible and tangible; here, at least, we 
may rest assured, is "the gift of the Holy Spirit." 
It is dangerous, however, for poor fallible man, 

" Most ignorant of what he 's most assured, 

to depend upon his own reasonings, especially in re- 
gard to the " things of the Spirit," since he is wholly 
dependent for his knowledge of these upon the reve- 
lations of the Spirit himself. It is nowhere said in 
Scripture that the disciples received the Holy Spirit in 
the time of Christ's personal ministry. It matters not, 
then, how highly we may estimate their privileges, or 
those mighty miraculous powers which were specially 
imparted to them; it is immaterial how we may ac- 
cumulate them all in evidence ; they do not, singly 
or collectively, afford any proof, in the absence of a 
Scripture declaration, that the Holy Spirit had been 
given to the disciples, or received by them. On the 
contrary, this is constantly spoken of as something 
yet future ; as something that could not possibly oc- 
cur until Christ himself should go away (John xvi : 7), 
and until that eventful day should arrive for which 
they waited at Jerusalem, in hope and prayer. Nay, 
this event is not only thus constantly referred to the 
period succeeding Chrises ministry, but it is most 
plainly and pointedly announced, in the very midst 
of all the powers and blessings which the disciples 

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enjoyed as personal followers of Christ, that the 


It was on the last day, that great day of the feast, 
that Jesus stood and revealed the far richer and no- 
bler provision which God had furnished, in the spir- 
itual Zion, for his believing people. He cried: "If 
any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. 
He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, 
out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." 
"This," adds an infallible interpreter, writing near 
the close of the first century, " spake he of the Spirit 
which they that believe on him should receive." This 
gift was to be in the believer, as the Great Teacher 
elsewhere expresses it, •" a well of water springing up 
unto everlasting life " — a perennial source of blessed- 
ness not only to the possessor, but copious streams — 
yea, rivers of living water — of spiritual blessedness 
flowing forth from him to others. The Spirit was to 
constitute, in the heart of the believer, an interior and 
unfailing source of that moral and spiritual power 
which was to overflow the nations and pervade the 
world, and purify, refresh, and renovate mankind 
down to the latest generations. This consisted not 
in any miraculous signs or prodigies, past, present, 
or to come. It was wholly independent and apart 
from all local, transient, and provisional circum- 
stances and conditions. It stood forth alone, as the 
grand consummation of Christ's redemptive work on 
earth, the crowning joy of faith, the assurance of 
hope, the ever-abiding earnest of eternal glory. It 

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is announced here as a fact yet future, and the rea- 
son why it was necessarily yet future, is also given. 
"The Holy Spirit was not yet given because Jesus 
was not yet glorified." It was necessary that the 
sacrifice should be offered, and that the " High Priest 
of our profession'' should ascend into the most holy 
place of the true tabernacle, to appear in the pres- 
ence of God and receive "gifts for men." " There- 
fore being by the right hand of God exalted," says 
Peter, on the day of Pentecost, " and having received 
of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he 
hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear" — 
viz., the outward tokens, and then appropriate ac- 
companiments of that inward baptism which the 
disciples had just received in being "filled with the 
Spirit." For the apostle, here addressing unbelievers, 
very properly refers them to those exterior evidences 
of the presence and power of the Spirit, which were at 
that time displayed and addressed to them for the very 
purpose of confirming the word of the apostles and 
producing faith, the miraculous gift of tongues being 
designed both as a "sign" or evidence to unbelievers 
of the Divine presence and power, and also as the 
means of communicating to foreigners in their own 
languages "the wonderful works of God" — the re- 
demption that was in Christ. Tongues were thus, 
like the inscription upon the cross in the three chief 
languages then spoken, not only an indication of the 
truth, not yet recognized by the apostles themselves, 
that the Gentiles were among those whom the Lord 
would call, but, at the same time, the instrument 

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through which that call was to be made known. 
These miraculous accompaniments, therefore, of the 
gift of the Spirit, which were for special -and tempo- 
rary ends, distinctly stated, and having particular re- 
lation to unbelievers, should not be confounded, either 
as necessary means or causes or consequences, with 
that "gift of the Spirit" which was promised to every 
obedient believer. The case was simply this : Christ 
was now glorified, and, the time having come, he sent 
his Spirit to animate his body, the Church, with spir- 
itual life and to abide in it forever. That it was nec- 
essary,/^ a time, to confirm the gospel by signs and 
wonders wrought by the power of the Holy Spirit, as 
in former ages, does not in the slightest degree affect 
the concurrent, permanent, and essential fact that, on 
the day of Pentecost, and not before, God bestowed 
upon men the gift of the Holy Spirit — the Paraclete, 
the Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth, to abide for- 
ever in the hearts of believers, and to convince the 
world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. 

It is the more important to dwell upon the distinc- 
tion here made, since it is precisely at this point that 
men, in their blind exaggeration of signs and sensible 
demonstrations, lose their way, and run into either 
the extravagance of fanaticism, on the one hand, or 
the skeptical frigidity of rationalism upon the other. 
The vain and ignorant enthusiast who prays for a bap- 
tism in fire, and hopes for dreams and visions, and sen- 
sible signs and wonders, as attendant upon the impar- 
tation of the Spirit, is not a whit farther from the 
truth than the errorist who affirms that miracles were 

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a necessary and invariable accompaniment of the Spir- 
it's presence, and that, because such demonstrations 
are not now given, therefore no Holy Spirit whatever 
is now received, and Christ's promise to be with his 
people to the end of the world has totally failed. In 
opposition to these most dangerous extremes, it is here 
designed to show that miraculous powers, whether 
exercised as charisms for the edification of the 
Church, or as evidences to convince the world, are 
entirely distinguishable and separable from that gift 
of the Holy Spirit which Was to be the grand cul- 
minating fact in the obedience of the gospel and the 
perfection of the Church on earth. Such miraculous 
powers and demonstrations, we repeat, appertained to 
all dispensations and ages, but the gift of the Holy 
Spirit to Christianity alone. Those powers were tem- 
porary, but the Spirit permanent ; the unity it estab- 
lishes, and the precious fruits it bears in the Christian 
life, so incomparably greater than supernatural gifts, 
being required throughout the ages as the very sub- 
stance and design of the gospel. It has been seen 
how subordinate the place which Christ himself as- 
signed to miracles, in which weak mortals are so dis- 
posed to glory ; and it is evident that, notwithstanding 
all the wondrous powers and privileges enjoyed by 
the disciples during the Saviour's ministry, they had 
not, at that period, received the Holy Spirit at all, 
but were instructed to await his coming in the future, 
at the glorification of Christ. Here, then, is a com- 
plete separation between miracles and the gift of the 
Holy Spirit. Miracles can exist — and that, too, of the 

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most stupendous character — apart from "the gift of 
the Holy Spirit." They constitute a manifestation 
quite different from that promised in the Paraclete. 
This was a special and peculiar manifestation of the 
Spirit — an interior presence y a Divine indwelling, ap- 
propriate to the gospel institution alone. 

It may be asked, in regard to the position occupied 
by the people of God, anterior to the coming of 
Christ : How could they be called the " Sons of God,' 1 
or regarded as "walking with God," unless they are 
supposed to have had the Holy Spirit, as Christians 
now possess it ? In reply, it may be remarked that 
we may greatly err, in taking the case and condition 
of one under the Christian Institution and making 
this a model for preceding ages. God has his own 
methods and plans of working, and these are adapted 
to the varying conditions and circumstances of the 
human race. Hence, while it may be admitted that 
the great essential features of true religion, viz., faith 
and obedience, have been the same in all ages, and 
that these have always secured the Divine favor, it is 
to be remembered that the modes in which this favor 
manifested itself, have greatly varied at different 
times. There was a period, when a few simple types 
and symbols, dimly comprehended ; a few brief in- 
structions and promises, veiled in figure ; a few fear- 
ful judgments and mighty deliverances, seem to have 
constituted the entire superstructure of man's knowl- 
edge of God. Again, there was a period, when a 
peculiar people was selected, and when a multiform 
system of types and shadows ; a complicated ritual ; 

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a worldly sanctuary ; a symbolical presence, revealed 
to men still more the majesty, the purity, justice, 
and truth of the Divine character, and, in its wondrous 
lessons of mercy and of judgment ; its prophetic 
visions and its triumphant hopes, prepared the human 
mind for that final glorious development of the 
Divine scheme of redemption presented in the gos- 
pel. During all these centuries, there is no evidence 
to show that any one received the Holy Spirit in the 
New Testament sense, or that such a gift would 
have been all consonant with the circumstances and 
conditions of the times. That, in every nation, those 
who feared God and wrought righteousness, were 
accepted of him is true. That he revealed himself 
to them in various ways, in dreams and visions, by 
angels and by chosen agents, and special, direct min- 
istries, is undoubted. Still, there is no evidence that 
the Holy Spirit took up his abode in any heart, or 
that this special gift of God was any part of the plan 
or purposes of those institutions which preceded 
Christianity. We have, indeed, the prophetic type 
of the Spirit in the guiding pillar of fire or cloud that 
led the Israelites, or dwelt in repose as the Shekinah 
between the cherubims in the most holy place in the 
tabernacle, and filled the temple of Solomon with its 
Divine glory after sacrifice and prayer. This was, 
indeed, an appropriate and magnificent emblem, but 
it was an exterior and visible emblem only, adapted to 
men's religious immaturity, and in harmony with the 
"carnal ordinances" which were designed to lead 
him to spiritual truth. The very presence of the 

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type is a proof of the absence of the antitype, — of 
that actual Divine presence, which, in the Christian 
church, the living temple of God, was to be the joy 
and light of the soul. " The temple of God is holy," 
says Paul to the Corinthians, " which temple ye are.' 1 
" Know ye not that your body is the temple of the 
Holy Spirit, which is in you, which ye have of God ?" 
Again, " Ye are builded together for a habitation of 
God through the Spirit." Eph. ii : 22. The New 
Institution was to be a spiritual one — the very king- 
dom of the heavens established upon the earth. It 
was the fulfillment of all preceding types and 
promises, in the realities which they but prefigured. 
" The patterns of things in the heavens," gave place 
in it to "the heavenly things themselves," and the 
Christian has come, not to a "mount that might be 
touched," nor to flaming fire that might be seen, nor 
to thunderings and the piercing voice of the trump of 
God which might be heard, but to Mount Zion, and 
to the city of the living God, the spiritual — the 
" heavenly Jerusalem." 

The question here is not one of the acceptance 
and salvation of the ancient saints who trusted in 
God. All these "obtained a good report through 
faith," though "they received not the promise." 
They served God in harmony with the institutions 
under which they lived, and their names were written 
in heaven, where Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob will re- 
ceive their children to the celestial feast, and from 
whence Moses and Elijah appeared in glory with 
Jesus on the Mount, communing together with him 

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in regard to that true sin-offering by which believers 
of all dispensations were to be forever perfected. 
The question before us could have nothing to do with 
that of the salvation of any under former institu- 
tions, unless it could be shown that under these, as 
under Christianity, the indwelling of the Spirit was 
made a necessary condition of that salvation. Each 
dispensation, each period of progress, indeed, had its 
own method of expression, its own appropriate in- 
termediation. The fire from heaven which consumed 
the accepted sacrifice, the nocturnal vision, the an- 
gelic visitant, as well as other direct means of com- 
munication, gave, at one time, the necessary assur- 
ance of faith. At a later period, more signal, visible, 
and audible manifestations of the Divine presence 
confirmed the ministration of the Law ; while special 
oracles were given by " Urim and Thummin," the 
Light and the Perfection, which rested in symbols 
upon the breast-plate of the High Priest; or, at a 
still later time, through the prophet, whose soul was 
brought into consonance with the fervors of inspira- 
tion by the strains of a minstrel. 1 Sam. x: 5, xix: 
20-24; 2 Kings iii: 15. But, under Christianity, the 
signs of the Divine power and presence no longer 
thus appear. The "angel of the covenant" comes 
not to deliver personal revelations ; no ephod fur- 
nishes a response to the anxious inquirer; no prophet 
announces a Divine vision ; no seer reveals the un- 
known secrets of the future. The internal adminis- 
tration of the kingdom of heaven is entirely differ- 
ent from that of previous institutions. Like them, 

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it required external and miraculous evidences for its 
introduction, but in its own nature, and in its proper 
and permanent establishment, it rests upon the 
power of an inward faith and an indwelling Spirit. 
In contrast with all other systems, it is, indeed, "the 
dispensation of the Spirit, ,, in the true and literal 

It is thus, in Christianity, that a higher plane of 
spiritual fellowship is reached, and the believer has 
access to the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus. 
It is now, that men shall worship God neither in 
Mount Gerizim, nor yet at Jerusalem, but when " the 
true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit 
and in truth." On Pentecost, there was introduced 
an era when God was to pour out his Spirit upon as 
many as he would call, and when true discipleship, 
Christ's epistle to the world, could be "manifestly 
declared " only in being written, " with the Spirit of 
the living God, not in tables of stone, but in fleshly 
tables of the heart." 2 Cor. iii : 3 ; Heb. viii : 10. 
It is in this very respect that Christianity is superior 
to all preceding institutions ; and if the views of 
those who deny any spiritual presence were true, 
and the power of the gospel now consisted merely 
in the logic of ethical precepts or of a heroic exam- 
ple, it would at once be deprived of this claim, and 
be justly regarded as quite inferior to preceding dis- 
pensations in its assurances of Divine acceptance, 
and as having itself lost the efficacy and complete- 
ness which it possessed in the beginning. 

The confusion of thought which has prevailed in 

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the religious world, in respect to the "Holy Spirit 
of Promise," has doubtless arisen largely from the 
failure to make proper distinctions between the vari- 
ous Divine dispensations of religion. It would seem, 
however, to be still more largely due to those false 
theories of conversion by special spiritual operations, 
which have, of late years especially, been so dili- 
gently propagated. The mysticism which makes 
true religion to consist, not in faith and obedience, 
but in a special and supernatural ecstasy of feeling, 
independent of the gospel, and wrought in the heart 
by the immediate power of the Spirit, must, as a 
matter of course, take it for granted that the saved 
of all ages have been subjects of the same "opera- 
tion," and have had a similar " Christian experience." 
This unscriptural and most erroneous notion of the 
regeneration which enables the believer to enter 
into the kingdom of heaven, has sadly beclouded the 
minds of a large portion of the religious world, and 
perverted the understandings of men, as well as the 
teachings of the Bible, in rega*d to the whole subject 
of that Holy Spirit " which God gives to them that 
obey him." So complete, indeed, is the hallucination 
which prevails in regard to this matter, that the 
plainest facts and declarations of the New Testa- 
ment are utterly disregarded ; and a mere theo- 
logical theory, aided by the prevailing passion for 
sensuous impressions, has, in a large measure, re- 
placed the faith and practice of primitive Chris- 

To conclude, however, what, may be remarked 

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upon the condition of the people of God prior to the 
Day of Pentecost, it may be further added, that 
Christ himself most unequivocally represents it as 
very different, and as inferior in regard to religious 
privileges. Speaking of John the Baptist, he awards 
to him the high honor of being a prophet, and more 
than a prophet. He applies to him a scripture 
which presents him as the messenger (angel) who 
was to prepare the way of the Lord ; and after de- 
claring that among those born of women, there had 
not arisen a greater than John the Baptist, he an- 
nounces emphatically that, notwithstanding all his 
high dignities, honors, and privileges, "the least in 
the kingdom of heaven" was "greater than he." 
Matt, xi: n.* Now John from his birth, as we are 
informed, had been "filled with the Holy Spirit;" 
that is, he had been fully supplied with that inspira- 
tion and supernatural spiritual insight required for 
the discharge of his prophetic office, and for the 
manifestation of Christ to Israel, but he had not 
received that "Spirit of adoption," by which the 
humblest believer from Pentecost might be consti- 
tuted a son of God ; and hence, so far as dignity of 
title was concerned, John occupied an inferior posi- 

* The word rendered " least," here, is in the comparative degree 
in the original (fwcpdrepog-), which can not be correctly rendered 
"least." The idea is, that one in the kingdom of heaven, though 
inferior in personal character, in official distinction, or in religious 
attainment, was nevertheless greater in regard to relative position; as 
a son is greater or higher than a servant, even though that servant was 
a prophet, or a special messenger (angel). It is, in short, simply a 
contrast of terms, as indicating relative position. 

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tion, as the title of prophet, or even that of angel, 
was inferior to that of son. Heb. i : 1-4. 

We have, furthermore, in the case of Cornelius 
and his household, another clear illustration of the 
difference of the position of the people of God, 
before and after the propagation of the gospel. 
Here was a Jewish proselyte, a godly man, who was 
assured, by a special angelic messenger, that his 
prayers and his alms had come up as a memorial 
before God, and who had thus indubitable evidence 
that he was accepted* of God. Yet he is, at the 
same time, commanded of God to send for Peter, 
who, says the angel, "shall tell thee words whereby 
thou and all thy house shall be saved." Acts xi : 14. 
"And as I began to speak," adds Peter, "the Holy 
Spirit fell on them, as on us at the beginning." 
Cornelius and his household were thus, prior to this 
occasion, accepted worshipers of God, enjoying com- 
munion with God through faith and prayer, and the 
appointed oblations, just as did Abraham, Isaac, 
Jacob, Moses, or David ; yet they were not pos- 
sessed of the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant. 
Just as it would have been necessary for the patri- 
archs, if on earth ; just as it was necessary for the 
disciples of Moses and of John the Baptist, so was 
it necessary that Cornelius and his household should 
hear the gospel and enjoy its blessed promises in 
order to salvation. A new era had now dawned 
upon the world. The kindness and love of God our 
Saviour toward man had now appeared in all its f .ill- 
ness, as never before announced on earth, and he 

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i 7 8 


had now appointed to save men, according to his 
mercy, by the washing of regeneration and the re- 
newing of the Holy Spirit, " which," adds the apos- 
tle, " he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ 
our Saviour, that, being justified by his grace, we 
should be made heirs according to the hope of 
eternal life." 

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Permanent Fruits of the Spirit — Nature of the Change produced in the 
Disciples at Pentecost — Renovation due to the presence of the 
Spirit — Effects the same in all — Not from Ethical Precepts or 
Example — New Testament now replaces the Supernatural Gifts, 
but not the Paraclete — The impartation of the Spirit the design 
of the Gospel Ministry — An Earnest, a Seal, a Witness — Interior 
state of the Believer — Scripture the only Test of Religious Truth 
and Feeling — Love the Fulfilling of the Law. 

NOTHING could be more remarkable than the 
change produced in the religious life of the 
disciples of Jesus, by the impartation of the Holy 
Spirit. Leaving entirely out of view the special 
"charisms," or gifts, designed for the confirmation 
of the testimony, and for the instruction of the 
church in its period of immaturity, and which neces- 
sarily terminated when their purposes were accom- 
plished, we would here consider only those perma- 
nent qualities and essential characteristics, which 
were, and are, and ever must be recognized as 
appertaining to the Christian life. These have been 
present in the Church of Christ in all ages, and are 
just as necessary now, and as much the immediate 
result of the presence of the Spirit of God now, as 
they were in the beginning. The special temporary 




gifts have been already to some extent considered, 
and distinguished from those proper fruits of the 
Spirit, of which Paul gives a partial enumeration in 
Galatians v : 22, 23, and which, in 1 Cor. xiii, he 
generalizes under the single comprehensive term, 
" Charity," or Love. Let us, then, here, in the light 
of the Record, contemplate, for a moment, the change 
which appeared in the disciples, as consequent upon 
their reception of the "Gift of the Holy Spirit" — 
the "Paraclete" of the New Institution. 

The first matter which justly strikes the attention, 
in comparing the state of the disciples prior to Pen- 
tecost, with their condition afterward, is this, that 
the difference noticeable consisted, not in the pos- 
session of miraculous power, (for this, we again re- 
peat, they had enjoyed before,) but in the manifesta- 
tion of new and extraordinary power in the moral 
nature. Their supernatural gifts were, indeed, varied 
and modified, so as to be adapted to their new cir- 
cumstances and duties, as we see in respect to 
speaking in different tongues, etc. ; but their supe- 
rior position now, did not depend on the power of 
working any greater miracles than they had wrought 
under the immediate ministry of Christ : it depended 
on a change effected in and upon themselves — a com- 
plete revolution in their inner nature ; an entire 
renovation of all the moral powers and sensibilities, 
through the impartation of a divine nature, energiz- 
ing, strengthening, enlarging, and consecrating all 
the activities of the heart and mind. Never before 
had there been such embassadors to men ; never 


before were such moral miracles exhibited ; never 
before was such a revolution effected in human 
society, because never before had the Holy Spirit 
descended to dwell in human hearts, as a welling 
fountain of strength and blessedness ; an antepast 
of an eternal inheritance ; a new, actual, abiding, 
and sole manifestation of God on earth. Jesus had 
now sent another Comforter, even the Spirit of 
Truth, to abide with the church forever. He had 
not left his disciples orphans, but had himself come 
to them as " the Lord, the Spirit," the final reve- 
lation of Deity on earth, in its threefold character, 
no less than in its mysterious unity, now exhibited 
in the finished scheme of redemption, and now for 
the first time distinctly enunciated in the sacred 
formula of baptism. 

No one, indeed, can, for a moment, contemplate the 
state of the disciples, prior and subsequent to the day 
of Pentecost, without being struck with the contrast 
which presents itself. Previous to this "great and 
notable day," they were timid, vacillating, doubtful, 
feeble and dependent ; after the descent of the Spirit, 
they present themselves as fearless, immovable, as- 
sured, and empowered with more than human strength 
and authority. They were, before, simple and retir- 
ing, in conscious ignorance and human frailty ; they 
are now, before even kings and rulers, bold, uncom- 
promising public advocates of a religion destined to 
revolutionize the world. They were once a fleeing 
and scattered band, humble and obscure; they are 
now full of a moral heroism by which they are trans- 

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1 82 


formed into aggressive and triumphant antagonists to 
the false religions and sinful practices of the world. 
They are evidently, indeed, wholly different persons, as 
to all that appertains to the moral nature of man ; for 
this change, as before stated, was not derived from any 
new miraculous power communicated, but from the 
presence of God's Spirit in them — a helpful, comfort- 
ing, and strengthening interior spiritual force, render- 
ing them equal to every emergency, and successful in 
every conflict with the powers of darkness. The gift 
of the Holy Spirit was to the disciples somewhat like 
the addition of a central ganglion to the nervous sys- 
tem of an animal organization, endowing this with a 
higher nature, and lifting it into a loftier sphere of life. 

The difference in the character and conduct of the 
disciples, before and after the reception of the Spirit, 
is certainly not to be accounted for on the ground of 
mere supernatural illumination of mind. That they 
were endowed at once with superior knowledge ; that 
they were furnished with divine revelations ; that, as 
promised, the Spirit 'took the things of Christ and 
showed these to them/ leading the apostles "into all 
the truth" of the gospel by degrees, and enabling 
them to comprehend, as never before, the purposes 
of God in relation to mankind, is true; and that it 
was a natural effect of such knowledge to give them 
confidence and boldness as religious teachers, is un- 
doubted. But knowledge, while it may guide and aid 
the exercise of moral qualities, can never replace them 
or impart to them that marvelous energy and that un- 
failing constancy so conspicuous in the primitive dis- 


ciples of Christ. The renovation they experienced, 
was so far from being confined to the intellect, that it 
was here even less marked than in their moral being, 
so that, while they knew but in part, and still remained 
in ignorance and doubt, for some years, as to the call- 
ing of the Gentiles, and other matters of importance, 
which were only made plain to them as circumstances 
demanded, there was evident, from the first, in their 
principles of action, their feelings, their motives, their 
entire moral constitution, a thorough transformation. 
Instead of worldly hopes and ambitions, there was now 
a nobility of self-abnegation and renunciation truly 
sublime. Instead of a hesitating and timorous alle- 
giance, there was now a devotion of soul and a con- 
secration of life wholly unexampled. In place of lim- 
ited personal attachments, there was an expansive and 
pervading love of humanity ; and, for a calculating and 
cautious policy, a Divine trust that banished all fear 
of consequences, and enabled them, amidst sufferings 
and reproaches, to persist in one unfaltering resolve 
"to obey God, rather than men." And all this, not 
from any exaltation of feeling produced by enthusi- 
asm, or from any spirit of self-immolation imposed 
by fanaticism, but in the utmost calmness of perfect 
self-possession, and in immediate view of certain and 
foretold results, fatal to every worldly hope, yet con- 
templated with unshaken equanimity and fearless res- 

The true secret of this wondrous change was, that 
they had received "the earnest of the Spirit in their 
hearts," that " the love of God " had now been " shed 

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abroad " in their hearts " by the Holy Spirit given " 
to them, and that they were " transformed " by the 
renewing of their minds, (Rom. xii: 2,) and not by 
means of any miraculous powers, but, so to speak, in 
spite even of the hinderance which the possession of 
such powers opposed to the humility and self devo- 
tion demanded by the gospel. Rom. xii : 3. It was 
Christ who was now formed in them, and his nature 
and character which were now reproduced in them. 
Under the influence of his Spirit, they ardently 
sought to save men. They counted not their lives 
dear to them when, by death, they might glorify 
Christ, and, for the love of man, they forsook all that 
they possessed. They sold their possessions and 
goods, that distribution might be made to the needy. 
They spent their lives amidst labors, dangers, and 
sufferings, in order to rescue perishing humanity 
from sin and death. They inculcated the highest 
integrity, the utmost faithfulness; the purest moral- 
ity, the strictest "fulfillment of all relative and per- 
sonal duties, and left no means untried to elevate 
man, and restore him to the Divine favor and fellow- 
ship. And the fruits of the Spirit, manifested in the 
life of each believer, were the same in all. Each 
possessed the same character, formed after the same 
model, and animated by the same Spirit. A Chris- 
tian at Rome differed not from one at Jerusalem, or 
at Corinth, or at Ephesus. All had the same love, 
the same mind, the same hopes and feelings, and 
were conscious that one indissoluble tie bound them 
forever to each other. Every-where they could be* 

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recognized by the same fruits of love, joy, peace, 
long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, temperance, pa- 
tience, and, every-where alike, approved themselves 
to be the children of God, shining as lights amid the 
darkness of the world. 

In contemplating these facts, the thoughtful will 
not fail to perceive how utterly at variance they are 
with those theories of religion which would make the 
life and example of Christ the chief, or only means 
of renovation. Here were disciples who had been 
constantly associated with Jesus, and, who, for a 
period sufficiently long, accompanied him, witnessing 
his example, hearing his instructions, and enjoying 
personal intimacies, and opportunities, such as none 
others could ever possess ; yet, notwithstanding all 
this, remaining, like Peter, 'unconverted/ incapable, 
inefficient, undistinguished. Surely, if the most 
pointed reproofs, the most effective instruction, and 
the most striking and complete personal exemplifica- 
tion of a virtuous life, in all its living power and 
reality, could, in any case, effect the renewal of 
human nature, such a result might have been cer- 
tainly expected in the case of the immediate fol- 
lowers of Christ. Yet, we perceive that it did not 
occur ; that neither Christ with them, nor Christ sacri- 
ficed for them, availed to effect that marvelous trans- 
formation which the day of Pentecost revealed, and 
which has since marked the true disciples of Jesus 
down through all the ages. How futile, then, are 
the hopes of those vain theorists who imagine that 
what Christ's actual life and example; his death, 

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resurrection, personal instructions, and presence, 
could not effect; is to be accomplished by the partial 
record which remains in the New Testament of 
what " He began to do and teach !" How absurd to 
suppose that mere ethical precepts, however im- 
portant, and however illustrated by recorded exam- 
ples, could have power to change human hearts, and 
develop at once to the world such moral heroism as 
characterized the disciples, so soon as they had re- 
ceived "power from on high!" 

It is specially reported of them, after they had 
received the Spirit, that "all that believed were to- 
gether, and had all things common." Again, (Acts 
iv: 32,) "And the multitude of them that believed 
were of one heart and of one soul ; neither said 
any of them that aught of the things which he pos- 
sessed was his own, but they had all things common." 
Again, (Acts ix : 31,) "Then had the churches rest 
throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria, and 
were edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord 
and in the comfort (TzapaxXrjast, paraklesei) of the 
Holy Spirit, were multiplied." Here the increase 
of the disciples is expressly attributed to the fact 
that they were " walking in the fear of the Lord 
and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit ; " and the 
congener of the very name, Paraclete, which Christ 
employed to designate the Holy Spirit, is used to 
denote the nature of the work accomplished by the 
Spirit, in supporting, comforting, and strengthening 
all believers. It was, thus, not so much by the 
miraculous powers which served as credentials to 

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I8 7 

those who preached the gospel, or by the charisms 
for the edification of the Church itself, as by the 
holy lives and loving sympathy of the disciples, that 
men were led' to acknowledge Jesus as Messiah. * 
A consistent Christian life has ever been an argu- 
ment which Infidelity has failed to refute ; and the 
meek submission of the Christian martyr has, in . 
every age, proved more convincing than any of 
those signs and marvels which excite the imagina- 
tions of men, but have little or no power to change 
their hearts. 

With these results of the impartation of the Holy 
Spirit before us, it may be easily seen how appro- 
priate was Christ's declaration to the disciples : " It 
is expedient for you that I go away ; for if I go not 
away, the Comforter will not come." The expedi- 
ency here was, in fact, a necessity. The Spirit of 

♦"Where the diadem of love is," says Chrysostom, "it is sufficient 
to make us known, not only to the genuine disciples of Christ, but also 
to unbelievers. Hence this sign is greater than all miracles, since by 
it the true disciples are known. If they performed a thousand mira- 
cles, and yet were at variance with one another, they would be scoffed 
at by unbelievers ; but if, on the contrary, though they perform no 
n-.iracles, they only have genuine love toward one another, they will 
be honored and invincible." 

Again : " If thou workest miracles and raisest the dead, whatever 
thou mayest do, the heathen will never so admire thee as when they 
recognize in thee a gentle and a mild believer. And this is no small 
gain; for thus many will be altogether freed from evil. Nothing can 
attract with such power as love. Other points of superiority, such as 
miracles, may excite their envy ; here they will at once admire and 
love thee. If they love thee, they will gradually be led to the 

1 88 


God in Christ, during his earthly ministry, as we 
have seen, was, indeed, with the disciples, but not 
in them. God was then manifested in the flesh in 
the person of Christ; and there could be,^it would 
seem, at this moment, but this manifestation alone. 
Having become a partaker of human nature, in order 
to the suffering of death, Jesus had yet this baptism 
to undergo, and was " straitened " until it could be 
accomplished. Restricted by the finiteness of hu- 
manity, until the wondrous purposes of the incarna- 
tion were completed, Christ displayed in himself 
alone, the " glory of the only-begotten of the Father, 
full of grace and truth," but might not then share 
with others that divine communion and spiritual 
unity with the Father which he himself enjoyed. 
It was not until the redemptive work was com- 
pleted, until, triumphing over all our spiritual foes — 
over sin, death, and Satan — he "led captivity cap- 
tive," and " ascended up far above all heavens," that, 
being thus "glorified," he "received gifts for men." 
And these gifts, we are told, in the strikingly pro- 
phetic language of the 68th Psalm, formerly quoted, 
(the application of which to the Messiah is so appa- 
rent,) were "for the rebellious? even for those who 
had crucified the Lord of Glory, and were given, as 
we are further expressly informed, "that the Lord 
God might divell among them!' Nothing could be 
more evidently descriptive of the giving of the Holy 
Spirit, in all its manifestations in apostles, prophets, 
pastors, teachers, etc., for the spread of the gospel 
and the upbuilding and perfecting of the saints, 01 

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of the great end and purpose of all, viz. : " that the 
Lord God might dwell among them," "that he might 
walk in them and dwell in them," and that "the 
whole body, fitly joined together" in all its parts, 
and associated in the " unity of the spirit," might 
make increase " unto the edifying of itself in love." 
And this development of the church was no sooner 
attained, and all the great questions, relating to human 
salvation, were no sooner sufficiently discussed and 
revealed, than all special gifts were withdrawn, and 
the disciples, no longer children, liable to be " tossed 
about by every wind of doctrine," were left with the 
written documents which compose the New Testa- 
ment, as containing all the teachings of apostles and 
prophets necessary to the Christian life, or needed 
in the determination of religious truth, to the end of 
time. It is in this precious volume, then, as con- 
nected with the Old Testament, that we have pre- 
served to us the sum and substance of all the mirac- 
ulous gifts and charisms of the church. There 
are no inspirations, no new revelations in dreams 
and visions, no supernatural communications now 
vouchsafed to men. These would be wholly unnec- 
essary, for, in the New Testament, we have all the 
revelation needed to "make the man of God perfect 
and thoroughly furnished unto every good work ; " 
but the possession of this treasure can not nozv, any 
more than the presence of the apostles, prophets and 
charisms of primitive times could tJien, enable any one 
to become a member of the body of Christ, without 
that Divine presence, that "fellowship of the Spirit" 

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which alone, at every period, establishes a vital and 
real unity with Christ. This Paraclete was "sent 
down from heaven," not merely for a brief season to 
impart miraculous powers in confirmation of the Di- 
vine testimony ; not for any temporary sojourn on 
earth, but, in the express language of the Saviour, to 
abide with the church "forever." 

It is precisely, indeed, in regard to this point of a 
greater nearness to God, a closer union and approx- 
imation to the spiritual system, that the Christian 
institution differs from all others. It was not in vain 
that, while the law and the prophets were until 
John, from that time the " kingdom of heaven " was 
preached. It was not in vain that, at the death of 
Jesus, the vail of the Temple was rent from the top 
to the bottom, showing that the way into the holiest 
of all was now for the first time made manifest. Nor 
is it without meaning, that the apostles announce, 
under the New Institution, that believers are made 
to sit together " in heavenly places in Christ," and are 
blessed with "all spiritual blessings in heavenly places" 
(Eph. i : 3) ; or that the kingdom of God " is right- 
eousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." Nothing 
is, indeed, so marked a feature of the gospel dispen- 
sation as that "fellowship of the Spirit," to which 
the sacred writings so often refer, and to which Paul 
makes so earnest an appeal as a fact realized by all, 
when he says, " If there be, therefore, any consolation 
in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of 
the Spirit — fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, 
having the same love, being of one accord, of one 

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I 9 I 

mind," Phil, ii: 1, 2. It was, in short, from the 
presence of the Spirit, establishing unity with Christ 
and imparting vital energy to the soul of every be- 
liever, that the Gospel derived its power of trans- 
formings renewing and saving men. The rationalistic 
or Socinian interpreter, with his moral suasion by 
example, and his code of Christian law, would reduce 
Christianity even below Judaism, which possessed, in 
the Shekinah, at least the visible symbol of the Di- 
vine presence. But, under the gospel dispensation, 
we have come to something infinitely better than 
types and symbols, and are privileged " to enter into 
the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living 
way which he hath consecrated for us through the 
veil." It is here that, through Christ, we have " an 
access by one Spirit unto the Father;" are permitted 
to "taste of the heavenly gift," and are made "par- 
takers of the Holy Spirit," Heb. vi : 4. The impar- 
tation of the Holy Spirit, indeed, was the great final 
aim of the ministration of the gospel. That which 
is first in design is ever last in execution, as ends are 
both the origin and the result of means. Faith, re- 
pentance and obedience to the commands of the 
gospel, hence precede the gift of the Holy Spirit, 
which is the last and final promise to the church on 
earth, and the possession of which indicates the exist- 
ence of all essential prerequisites. The great ques- 
tion hence in primitive times was not, " Have you 
made a profession of religion ? " or " Have you ex- 
perienced a hope?" but "Have you received the 
Holy Spirit since you believed?" and it is to this 



Divine gift that reference is ever made in this order 
of sequence, as in Eph. i: 13. "In whom, after that 
ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of 
promise which is the earnest of our inheritance, until 
the redemption of the purchased possession." So 
Paul asks the Galatians, " Received ye the Spirit by 
the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?" 
And it was thus the final aim of the ministry of the 
gospel, because it was the earnest of the heavenly 
inheritance and the seal of the Christian covenant, 
an absolute and infallible attestation of the Divine 
acceptance. "Hereby we know," says John, "that 
he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given 
us." Again, " Hereby know we that we dwell in him 
and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit," 
for thus was established that unity for which Christ 
prayed, " I in them and thou in me, that they may be 
one in us." 

For it is to be remembered that the believer had a 
"witness in himself," and that the fruits of the Spirit 
were not all borne in the outer life, as a testimony to 
others. Long-suffering, meekness, temperance, pa- 
tience, fidelity, might be thus displayed to the world ; 
but love, joy and peace were matters of individual 
experience as emotions of the heart. The "love of 
the Spirit" — that Christian affection to which Paul 
appeals, Rom. xv: 30; the "joy" that was "unspeak- 
able and full of glory," and the "peace of God," * which 

* The "peace of God" here, is not to be confounded with that 
peace with God, or reconciliation, which is the effect of justification 

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kept "the heart and mind" had their primary and 
chief sphere of action within the soul itself, and 
proceeded, not from reasonings, but from the Spirit 
himself as the originating cause. Hence, while the 
world could recognize, in the outer life of the disciple 
of Jesus, the working of a mysterious power which 
it was unable to comprehend ; the disciple had a wit- 
ness in himself of his relations to Christ, in a con- 
scious blessedness, not less inscrutable and not less 
Divine. The destinies of men are in their hearts, and 
"out of the heart are the issues of life." It was the 
peculiar characteristic of Christ's teaching, therefore, 
to direct attention to this fountain of all human action, 
and to endeavor, as he said, "to make the tree 
good" that its fruit might be "good." "He," says 
Paul, (2 Cor. i: 21), "which establisheth us with you, 
in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath 
also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in 
our hearts." It was the heart, accordingly, that was 
made the center of all spiritual power. It was the 
office of the Spirit to shed abroad there, that love of 
God, by which the entire nature was to be renewed ; 
and to maintain there evermore the memories, feel- 
ings, and affections appertaining to the Christian life. 
It was its function to bear a joint witness with the 
spirit of the believer, to his new and Divine filiation ; 

by faith. It is that indescribable quietude and calmness which 
ever presides over the heart'and mind of the true believer, springing 
up from an unfailing fountain, being one of the direct fruits of the 


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to "help" his infirmities; to strengthen with might 
" the inner man ; " to assist his prayers, and even to 
make intercession on his behalf with Him who 
"searcheth the hearts." Rom. viii : 16-27. 

In such statements, it is necessarily implied that 
the believer may assure himself of the Spirit's pres- 
ence. It would, indeed, be impossible to comprehend 
otherwise how he could be thereby "sealed to the 
day of redemption," or how the Spirit could be to him 
at all an " earnest " in his heart. If even, the 4 seal- 
ing' could be plausibly considered as a testimony only 
to others, most assuredly the ' earnest ' could be an 
evidence only to the disciple himself, and an assur- 
ance of an eternal inheritance only in so far as its 
presence should be, in some way, realized by the 
human consciousness. Let the skeptical rationalist 
note that the " earnest " does not consist in a belief 
or admission of the fact as possible, nor in any 
fancied philosophical explanation of such a fact sup- 
posed, but in the realisation of the fact itself as actual. 
For it is precisely here, that the believer passes be- 
yond the precincts of faith into those of knowledge 
or experience; but this knowledge is not one that 
rests upon gross material contact, or visible appear- 
ances, real or imaginary, or even on any impressions 
made upon the internal natural sensibilities which 
man shares in common with the rest of the animal 
creation. It is a knowledge of a higher, purer, 
holier character ; a knowledge of God — a knowledge 
(Imyvtbacz) derived from the 'enlightening of the eyes 



of the heart/* (Eph. i: 18); a spiritual discern- 
ment and understanding ; a communion or fellow- 
ship (xoivcowa), resulting in the quickening of the 
affections, the renovation of the entire moral nature 
as well as in the guidance of the will. It would be 
strange, indeed, then, if the Christian had no heart- 
experiences ; no inward assurances ; no spiritual joys. 
It would be singular if he had no consciousness of 
his changed condition, or that he now possessed 
within him an unfailing source of strength and con- 
solation previously unknown. Man is not so con- 
stituted as to be insensible to the existence and in- 
terior state and operations of his moral, any more 
than of his intellectual nature ; nor is he at all more 
liable to be deceived, as many erroneously suppose, 
by his feelings than by his reasonings. As the excite- 
ment of feeling speedily subsides, deceit here is soon 
detected, and men come to regard emotional excite- 
ments with a distrust, which should be oftener and 
more justly directed to that imperfect knowledge and 
those innumerable, but undiscovered, fallacies from 
false reasoning, which mislead men often through the 
whole of life. 

The warm heart may prompt to a benevolent 01 
generous deed, but the frigid reasonings of the head 
intervene to repress its movements. A thousand 
cold and selfish considerations await the bidding of 
the intellect, to crush the springing emotions of ten- 

* The soul, the ipvxq is supposed to have its seat in the heart, All 
the best Manuscripts give napdia? here, and not J/avo/ar, as in Rec. 



derness or love ; of sympathy, charity, penitence, or 
trust. It is only in childhood that the emotional na- 
ture seems free to express itself, as it is in Spring that 
the flowers reveal their beauty and their fragrance. 
The sad experience of human selfishness, the con- 
ventionalities of society, the lynx-eyed watchfulness 
of personal interest and ambition, conspire to de- 
stroy the native affections of the heart, and to re- 
place them by the empty formalities and hollow 
courtesies of the world. It were impossible to tell 
how much of evil springs from this habitual repres- 
sion of feeling, which ultimately may extinguish ev- 
ery throb of emotion in the human breast, as contin- 
ued pressure may still the heart's own pulse of life. 
Surely, the sympathy and tears of Jesus teach us no 
such lesson; nor is it thus we can become again as 
little children, fit for the kingdom of heaven. 

There has been, unhappily, with many, a syste- 
matic and continuous effort to disparage religious 
feeling, and to oppose all expression of it, as savoring 
of enthusiasm, and incompatible with their philoso- 
phy of religion. This extreme, is but the counter- 
view of that theory of special "spiritual operations" 
now prevailing, which has been productive of so many 
disorders and extravagancies in religious society, to 
the discredit of both reason and religion. There has, 
hence, arisen a dislike to all excitement, and to every 
manifestation of emotion, as if religion were designed 
for the intellect alone. The advocates of modern re- 
vivalism, on the other hand, seem to regard religion 
as consisting altogether in certain excitements of feel- 



ing. But the religion of Christ is designed both for 
the head and for the heart. It is intended to embrace 
the whole man in body, soul, and spirit, and to secure 
to every faculty and every department of human na- 
ture its appropriate office and its most harmonious 
development. It is, hence, absurd to attempt to es- 
tablish any contrariety between the religion of the 
heart and the religion of the head, or to seek to ex- 
alt the one to the depreciation of the other. Much 
more is it criminal to exalt either against the religion 
of the Bible. 

It is often the case that men become enamored of 
a particular religious theory, which seems to them 
consistent with itself and with a few fragments of 
Scripture taken out of their connection and misin- 
terpreted in support of it. This theory involves usu- 
ally one or more untaught questions, and consists 
largely of speculations respecting the decrees of God, 
the work of the Spirit, the state of the dead, the 
destiny of the wicked, the time of Christ's second 
coming, or some similar theme, in regard to which 
revelation is supplemented by conjectures and imag- 
inations, clothed with the authority of dogmas. Each 
one of these systems, while it may contain in it a 
certain portion of Christianity, is really a distinct 
religion, captivating a peculiar class of men, as they 
may be naturally predisposed to reflection, imagina- 
tion, or feeling; and, taken together, these systems 
maintain, by their evil influence, those unhappy di- 
visions which exist in religious society. 

The fundamental and fatal error of all these differ- 

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ent systems is the same, viz., that they set up some- 
thing that is merely human, against the word of God. 
The deductions of the intellect, the reveries of the 
fancy, or the emotions of the heart, are exalted to 
supremacy, and the Divine testimony is made sub- 
servient and secondary. Orthodoxy of opinion, or 
some transient feeling, is erected into a standard of 
truth, and it is this that is trusted, rather than God. 
Whatever in the Bible may seem to correspond with 
the particular theory adopted, or with the feelings 
relied upon, will be accepted. Whatever seems to 
clash with these, must be explained away and re- 
jected. Scripture must be, by some means, con- 
formed to these theories, or to these feelings, and 
interpreted by them alone. But it is the word of 
God only which can afford instruction or assurance 
in regard to "the things of the Spirit." It is this 
alone which can be the standard of truth, whether 
this relate to the. mind or to the affections of the 
heart. It is by this the thoughts, as well as the 
feelings, are to be tested, and to allow either of 
these to dictate the sense of Scripture, is at once 
to lose not only the assurance of truth and of sal- 
vation, but the possibility of obtaining it. It is, in 
short, to abandon Christianity, which the Bible alone 
reveals, and to substitute the ignorance of men for 
the wisdom of God. 

It is especially appropriate to offer a warning 
against such extremes, in considering those fruits 
of the Spirit which have relation to the feelings, 
since it is in respect to these that error is most 

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common. It is, indeed, an undue reliance, on the 
part of some, upon mere feeling, and the placing of 
this above both reason and Scripture, that has, as 
before remarked, led many others to the opposite 
extreme and induced them to doubt or to deny any 
immediate fruits of the Spirit in the emotional na- 
ture, and to restrict his office wholly to the revela- 
tion of truth to the intellect. Yet it is a part of this 
revelation of truth that the fruits of the Spirit are 
love, joy, peace, and such other moral qualities and 
feelings, as long-suffering, gentleness, meekness, pa- 
tience ! And it is, furthermore, a part of this revela- 
tion of truth to define and describe the character and 
effects of these emotions, so that their genuineness 
and their true nature may be fully known ! Surely, 
then, it is not the presence, but the absence, of such 
fruits, thus specially indicated in the word of God, 
and essential to the Christian life, that may justly 
occasion doubt as to the reception and presence of 
the Holy Spirit. Certainly, it is not a reverent and 
sincere acceptance of the Divine teaching upon this 
subject, that can be construed into an undue confi- 
dence, either in the emotions of the heart or in the 
conclusions of the intellect. There is, indeed, no 
need, at any time, to set the one in opposition to the 
other, since both are equally necessary and equally 
due to that Divine Spirit which worketh in all, "both 
to will and to do of God's good pleasure." Let the 
feelings of the heart, as well as the deductions of the 
understanding, be ever alike tested by the word of 
God, and there is, then, no danger of error or delu- 

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sion. There can be no room for philosophical sto- 
icism where the teachings of the Spirit are regarded, 
and no enthusiasm can exist where the objects of 
desire are script urally sought, and are worthy of the 
earnestness with which they are pursued. 

It is to the heart particularly, in which reside the 
active principles of human conduct, that the Script- 
ures constantly direct human inquiry; and it is to 
the cultivation and proper maintenance of right affec- 
tions and motives here, that Christian development 
and perfection are chiefly to be attributed. " Now," 
says Paul to the Romans (xv: 13), "may the God of 
hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that 
ye may abound in hope through the power of the 
Holy Spirit." Correct verbal knowledge, indeed, is 
necessary, and a proper understanding of the gos- 
pel ; but, among the details of this knowledge, there 
is no particular more important to the believer than 
to know that he is the temple of God, and that it is 
his to realize that the Spirit of God dwelleth in him. 
"What," says Paul (1 Cor. vi: 19), "know ye not that 
your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is 
in you, which ye have of God ? " Ignorance in re- 
gard to other things might be excusable, but to be 
unaware of the fulfillment and of the purposes of 
the great promise of the gospel, might well excite 
surprise and awaken fear. 

Paul's earnestness in relation to this, may be read- 
ily seen in the 8th chapter of Romans, where he ex- 
hibits, in a most striking and particular manner, the 
interior state of the believer whose body is the tem- 

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pie of the Holy Spirit. Being under the influence 
of the Spirit, he minds the things of the Spirit, and 
"enjoys life and peace." He is in, or under the Spirit, 
because "the Spirit of God. dwells in him;" and if 
Christ be thus in him, though the body be con- 
demned to death because of sin, the Spirit is made 
- alive through righteousness, and can even communi- 
cate life to the mortal body, in causing its members 
to become instruments of righteousness, thus conse- 
crating these also [alive] to God, and presenting the 
body as a "living sacrifice." It is his duty and his 
happiness, hence, to mortify those deeds of the body 
to which the fleshly nature prompts, and in all things 
to be led by the Spirit of God, that he may be as- 
sured of being a child of God, it being of the utmost 
importance to him to know this, and to be enabled 
to approach God, not in the slavish spirit of Judaism, 
but in the confidence and filial spirit of adoption, 
crying "Abba, Father." It is in order that he may 
enjoy this confidence, that "the Spirit himself" — 
the Holy Spirit the Comforter — bears witness with 
or to his own Spirit * that he is a child of God, and, 

* Great pains have been taken, by rationalistic and Socinian inter- 
preters, to pervert and explain away this important and plain state- 
ment of Paul. Because in the preceding verse, trvevfia is used in a 
subordinate and metaphorical sense, they would have it so understood 
here also, notwithstanding the emphatic words which Paul uses for 
the very purpose of forbidding such an interpretation, as avrb to nvev/ia 
"the Spirit himself." Or, again, others admitting that the Spirit of 
God indeed bears the witness, affirm that it is by the written word or 
gospel, and not as dwelling in the heart, These pseudo-critics wha 

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hence, an heir of God, and a joint heir with Christ. 
This witness is borne in the fact of the Spirit's pres- 
ence, realized by its fruits — the joy, the peace, the 
conscious love which it inspires, and by the aid which 
it imparts, amidst the pains and travails of this mor- 
tal state, in helping the infirmities of the believer, in 
assisting him in his supplications to God, and in mak- 
ing intercession for him 4 with groans which words can 
not utter/ but which He who searcheth the hearts in 
which the Spirit abides, will recognize as expressing 
the "mind of the Spirit," who "maketh intercession 
for the saints according to the will of God." It is in 
the very impulse of prayer itself, indeed, that the 
Christian may recognize the testimony of the Holy 
Spirit, which, dwelling in the heart, manifesting it- 

would exalt the word of the Spirit against the Spirit himself, seem 
incapable of placing themselves in the position of those to whom Paul 
wrote, and they talk of the " written word " bearing witness to them, 
as if the Bible Society was then in full operation, and every disciple 
in Rome had a New Testament in his pocket ! In their eagerness to 
sustain a theory, they overlook the fact that the New Testament was 
not then written, and that there was no "written word" to bear the 
witness they imagine. It is not likely that the church at Rome had a 
single written document of any kind on the subject of Christianity, 
when Paul wrote his Epistle, nor could his language be then at all 
understood as applying to any thing but that internal witness of the 
Spirit familiar to all. 

These Socinian critics also display their ignorance in asserting that 
the mere absence of the definite article deprives irvevfia of all refer- 
ence to the Divine Spirit. They seem not to know that definiteness is 
given as well by adjectives, and frequently by mere contrast and by 
the position which the term occupies in the sentence. Rom. viii : 4, 



self in its fruits, and ruling the life, becomes thus 
an internal evidence to the believei, and, hence, a 
joint witness with the mind itself, that the individ- 
ual is in a state of justification and salvation. 

It is in prayer that the Spirit manifests itself as an 
advocate. " We know not what we should pray for 
as we ought." We are unaware of the dangers which 
threaten us, for we know not what a day may bring 
forth, and we are unable to see the spiritual foes 
which beset us. While on earth, Christ fulfilled the 
office of Paraclete. He was the guardian and the 
advocate of the disciples. As the secrets of the 
spiritual world were open before him, he knew the 
dangers surrounding them, and it was to his prayers 
they owed their safety. They knew not that Satan 
desired to have them in his power that he might sift 
them as wheat, but Christ knew it and preserved 
them by his prayerful advocacy. In like manner, 
the second Paraclete — the Holy Spirit, knowing and 
seeing all the possible wants and dangers of the 
saints ; familiar with all the things of the spiritual 
system, makes intercession for them, as Christ had 
done, being thus a helper — helping their infirmities, 
supplying their inability, so that while they know not 
what they should pray for, the Spirit knows, and in- 
tercedes on their behalf, that their faith may not fail 
in the approaching hour of trial, which they them- 
selves are unable to foresee. These inward aspira- 
tions of the Spirit on their behalf, they are, hence, 
unable to interpret, or express in words ; but He 
that seeth the heart knoweth what is the mind of 

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the Spirit, as he knew the desire of Jesus on behalf 
of his disciples ; for as Jesus did, so does the Spirit 
make intercession for the saints according to the will 
of God ; and this, not only for their defense against 
unseen spiritual foes, but for the attainment of needed 
graces and attributes of character, as well as for the 
opportunities and means of development and use- 

For man is not only most ignorant, of the tem- 
poral, as well as of the spiritual, dangers which 
menace him, but sadly unacquainted with his own 
actual spiritual needs, and the means necessary for 
overcoming his special propensities and tendencies to 
evil. It is, indeed, a blessed privilege that, so far as 
he may be able to discern these, he may, in prayer, 
make his requests known to God ; but oh ! how con- 
soling the assurance that the indwelling Spirit fully 
apprehends his necessities, and fails not to make 
them known to God. Without this personal and 
present aid, how feeble are all poor human en- 
deavors ! How futile all confidence in that which is 
merely external and formal ! Alas ! in the modern 
profession of Christianity, how much of materialism, 
how much of impiety against the invisible and the 
spiritual, has mingled itself with the gospel of Christ ! 
How different the feelings, the language, the consci- 
ousness, the perception of the modern disciple, as 
compared with one of primitive times! It would 
seem, almost, as if the increased cultivation of physi- 
cal science, with its exact methods, and its material 
philosophies, had given a stronger tendency to the 

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hum&n mind toward the things that are seen, and 
enfeebled the power of faith. The progress of 
civilization, indeed, so-called, has been little else than 
a progress in things material — in physical discovery, 
in methods of worldly enjoyment, in the power of 
controlling the forces of nature for the attainment of 
wealth and pleasure, or for the purposes of proud 
ambition in the overthrow and destruction of gov- 
ernments and armies. But primitive Christianity 
brought man into direct relation and communion 
with the spiritual world. The weapons of its war- 
fare were not carnal, and it recognized man's proper 
conflict as being with the unseen principalities, 
powers, and malignant spiritual hosts of the aerial 
regions — a conflict for which it furnished, him an 
appropriate panoply in "the armor of God," and, in 
the Holy Spirit, conferred on him no unnecessary 
gift, or supernumerary guardian and assistant. Alas ! 
into how fatal and false a security have many fallen ! 
How few professors of religion seem to realize the 
nature of the struggle in which they are engaged ! 
How vain the hope of the restoration of the primi- 
tive power of the gospel, until the primitive Spirit 
can be regained through the simple faith and obedi- 
ence of apostolic times ! 

In dwelling thus upon the importance of the 
restoration of the Spirit of the primitive gospel in 
all its fullness, let me not be understood as counte- 
nancing any of the pseudodoxies which exist in mod- 
ern religious society upon the subject of the Holy 
Spirit. In vain, indeed, would that promised Corn- 

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forter be sought, amidst those tumultuous excite- 
ments ; those unscriptural proceedings, those manipu- 
lated ecstasies, in which so many modern religionists 
hope to find the Spirit of gentleness and love. False 
views of religion inevitably generate false and artifi- 
cial feelings and sympathies, created by human ap- 
pliances, and having no higher origin than what is 
merely animal. The Divine presence accompanies 
Divine truth, but honors not those scenes of disorder, 
those frenzied, clamorous appeals, those vociferous 
outcries and hysterical swoonings and catalepsies 
which characterize modern religious revivals ; for 
"God is the God of order, and is not the author of 
confusion, but of peace, as in all the churches of the 
saints." The more ignorant and less intellectual men 
are, the more readily are they operated upon by 
those methods which revivalists employ, and the 
more wild and extravagant is their conduct, to the 
discredit of the true spirit of religion. It is evident, 
indeed, from the extremes and errors prevailing, that 
nothing is so much needed by the religious world in 
general as scriptural instruction in relation to the 
whole subject of spiritual influence, and the proper 
work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of men. It 
is by the truth alone that deliverance can be ob- 
tained from a frigid philosophy or senseless ritualism, 
on the one hand, and a visionary enthusiasm or 
blind excitement, upon the other. 

The Spirit of the gospel is a "Spirit of love and 
of a sound mind." It has given to us, accordingly, 
for our government and guidance, a "form of sound 



words" to which we are counseled to adhere "in 
faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." "That 
good thing which was committed unto thee," said 
Paul to a primitive disciple, "keep by the Holy 
Spirit which dwelleth in us." The duties of self- 
examination and of constant vigilance, as to thoughts 
and feelings, words and actions, in their individual 
character, and in all their mysterious reflex influence 
upon each other, are constantly urged in Scripture, 
and it is every-where implied that we can rightly 
determine their origin and nature. We are hence 
commanded to "try the spirits," to "seek the wisdom 
which cometh from above," to "prove ourselves 
whether we be in the faith," and, while the appeal is 
thus made to our own self-consciousness, the Holy 
Spirit has furnished, in the written word, abundant 
, tests, both positive and negative, by which we may be 
secured from error, and be enabled to determine with 
absolute certainty our true religious position. If the 
fruits of the Spirit are manifest in the outer life, the 
Christian may trust the emotions of the heart from 
which they flow. If he loves his brethren, "not in 
word only, but in deed and in truth," he may be as- 
sured that he has "passed from death to life." If 
he hears the apostles, he is authorized to conclude 
that he is of God ; while, on the other hand, as John 
declares, " He that is not of God, heareth not us." 
"If that which ye have heard from the beginning 
shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, 
and in the Father." 1 John ii: 24. "He that 
keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him and he 

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in him, and hereby we know that he abideth in us by 
the Spirit which he hath given us." Again, God is 
love, and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God 
and God in him." That all^conquering, all pervading 
love, which is the primal and essential manifestation 
of the Spirit in the heart, ever proves its true nature 
by inducing obedience to all the Divine command- 
ments, and an ever-progressive assimilation of char- 
acter to that of Christ.* 

* Luther, on Gal. iv : 6, remarks : " God hath sent the Spirit of his 
Son into our hearts, as Paul here saith. But Christ is most certain in 
his Spirit that he pleaseth God ; therefore we, also, having the same 
Spirit of Christ, must be assured that we are under grace for his sake, 
which is most assured. This I have said concerning the inward testi- 
mony, whereby a Christian man's heart ought to be fully persuaded 
that he is under grace and hath the Holy Spirit. Now the outward 
signs (as before I have said) are, gladly to hear of Christ, to teach and 
preach Christ, to render thanks unto him, to praise him, to confess 
him, yea, with the loss of goods and life ; moreover, to do our duty 
according to our vocation, as we are able ; to do it, I say, in faith, 
joy, etc. Not to delight in, nor to thrust ourselves into another man's 
vocation, but to attend upon our own, to help our needy brother, to 
comfort the heavy-hearted, etc. By these signs, as by certain effects 
and consequents, we are fully assured and confirmed that we are in 
God's favor." 


Means of obtaining the Holy Spirit — Faith, Obedience, Prayer — Ex- 
ample of Christ — Household of Cornelius, an exceptional case — 
Importance of the Gospel order — Unavailing, if alone — Delu- 
sions — Value of Truth — Requirements of the Church — Larger 
measures of Spiritual Power — Efficient means of Perfection and 
Christian Unity. * 

\ S the presence of the Holy Spirit in the heart 

of the believer, not only evolves the fruits of 
the Christian life, but is to him the means of spirit- 
ual unity, the seal of his acceptance, and the earnest 
of his inheritance, it becomes a question of the 
utmost importance how this Divine gift may be ob- 
tained and preserved. The conditions of its enjoy- 
ment have, indeed, been already incidentally noticed 
to some extent, but will merit here a more particular 
consideration. They may be briefly stated as faith, 
obedience, and prayer. It is the believer only," as we 
have seen, who can at all receive the Spirit ; his faith 
must be a true, that is, an active or living faith, and 
he is expected to ask that he may receive ; to seek, 
that he may find ; to knock, that it may be opened to 
him. "For if ye, being evil," says Christ, "know 
how to give good gifts unto your children, how much 
more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy 
Spirit to them that ask him." Lukexi: 13. 




Our Lord himself, who is the great exemplar or 
archetype for his people, presents to us, in his own 
case, the character, as well as the proper order of 
sequence of the events which establish and perfect, 
in human nature, that Divine unity proposed by the 
gospel. We read that, "when all the people were 
baptized, and it came to pass that Jesus also, being 
baptized and praying, the heaven was opened, and 
the Holy Spirit descended in a bodily shape, like a 
dove, and it abode upon him." It appears, thus, that 
the Holy Spirit was given to Jesus after his immer- 
sion in the Jordan — after his submission to this in- 
stitution, divinely appointed under the ministry of 
John. We learn, further, that the first act of Jesus, 
upon coming up out of the water, was to pray, and 
that immediately consequent upon this, the Spirit was 
imparted. This incident, which has not received the 
attention it merits, is significant and instructive, 
showing how perfectly in accordance was the life of 
Jesus with his teaching, "Ask and ye shall receive;" 
nor is it less worthy of note here how carefully the 
Scripture supplies every link in the chain of events, 
furnishing every thing necessary for human guidance. 
It gives no details that are not necessary, and nothing 
given can safely be omitted ; because the simple fact 
of its being recorded is sufficient to show that Om- 
niscience judged it needed, or foresaw that it would 
be needed, in some future aspect or state of the ques- 
tion to which the information related. It is thus 
here stated that, "Jesus coming up out of the water 
and praying" the Holy Spirit was imparted. Im- 

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portant fact! appropriate order! precious exempli- 
fication of human duty ! — often passed by unnoticed, 
yet revealing great truths, confirming Divine ar- 
rangements, and imparting harmony and consistency 
to the sayings and the doings, the obedience and 
the blessings, which the Scriptural Record presents 
for the enlightenment and salvation of men. 

The connection of prayer with the obtaining of 
the Holy Spirit, is shown again in Christ's language 
to the woman of Samaria : 41 If thou knewest the gift 
of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give pie to 
drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would 
have given thee living water." That gift of God, as 
well as that spiritual instruction, through which the 
great blessing of the gospel might be obtained, were 
to be asked for and sought ; and would be earnestly 
thus sought by those who recognized or knew their 
value. Again, our Lord informs the disciples that 
he would himself pray to the Father, on their behalf, 
for this Comforter, of whose office and nature they 
themselves must, at the time, have possessed a very 
inadequate idea, and for which Christ alone, the 
Shepherd of the little flock, might then appropriately 
and intelligently pray. But after his resurrection, 
and when he had, for forty days, explained to them 
more fully the things pertaining to his kingdom, we 
find the disciples, with one accord in prayer and sup- 
plication, until the Spirit is sent to them on Pente- 
cost. Nor may we say that there had not been, in 
the case of Cornelius, earnest prayer for the spiritual 
blessings of God's kingdom. For the angel said to 

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him as he fasted, " Cornelius, thy prayer is heard ; w 
and we are informed by Peter that he was not un- 
acquainted with the wonderful occurrences of the pre- 
ceding years, relating to the mission of Christ and of 
the apostles, which had taken place in Judea and 
Samaria ; nor may we suppose that he had failed to 
make these matters special subjects of meditation 
and prayer. 

In this case, indeed, the Spirit was given before 
baptism, but not before faith. And, as formerly 
shown, it was given before baptism, out of the usual 
order, for the special purpose of convincing the Jews, 
that God had really, and contrary to their expecta- 
tions and prejudices, "granted to the Gentiles re- 
pentance unto life." Neither the plain declarations 
of Christ, as in Luke xiii: 29; John x: 16, etc., nor 
the clear predictions of the ancient Jewish prophets, 
nor even the special revelation given to Peter, in his 
vision on the housetop at Joppa, were sufficient to 
overmaster the intensity of that Jewish separatism, 
cherished, not without a basis of Divine authority, 
during the past centuries of national existence. 
There was needed, accordingly, an opposed and in- 
surmountable fact, to change the current of Jewish 
thought, and to divert it into a broader channel. 
This startling fact was the manifest impartation of 
the Holy Spirit, out of the usual order of events, and 
in advance of that public obedience to the gospel on 
which it had heretofore been conditioned. But this 
circumstance interfered not with any thing essential 
in the established order of things. It presented 

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itself in the interval between that which was essen- 
tial and that which was formal, and found its perfect 
vindication in that preparedness recognized by Om- 
niscience as involving what was essential — the puri- 
fication of the heart by faith. Hence, while it was 
effective, as revealing to the Jewish believers that the 
Gentiles were brought into spiritual unity with 
Christ, it could form no precedent, in the ordinary 
ministration of the gospel, for men who could judge 
the state of the heart only by outward and formal 
acts of obedience, and, who could not, consistently 
with the order of the gospel committed to them, 
either expect or pray that the Spirit would be given 
to any one anterior to the usual public manifestation 
of faith in Jesus. 

In all the other cases recorded in the New Testa- 
ment, therefore, the invariable order is observed, as 
announced by Peter on the day of Pentecost to those 
who believed: "Repent, and be baptized every one 
of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remis- 
sion of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the 
Holy Spirit." This gift was thus last in order, and 
not first as modern Theology teaches. So com- 
pletely has "the gift of the Spirit" been confounded 
with conversion, and with the popular notions of re- 
generation, that the entire process of salvation, as 
given in the primitive gospel, has been reversed. 
The "gift of the' Spirit" is made to precede both 
faith and obedience. The unbeliever is informed that 
it is he who must receive the Holy Spirit in order to 
the production of faith, while the believer, doubtful 

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of possessing it, submits his "experience" to the ar- 
bitrament of others ?.s fallible as himself. The as- 
surance of pardon, now wholly dissociated from that 
'baptism into Christ* to which it originally and ap- 
propriately appertained, is now placed before bap- 
tism, and is made to rest on emotions or mental 
impressions, instead of on the obedience of faith. 
Thus it is, that the entire order of the primitive gos- 
pel is broken up, and the special design of its various 
parts changed and perverted by theological theories ; 
so that obedience to the commandments of men has 
largely replaced that obedience to the simple gospel 
with which, in primitive times, the "gift of the Spirit" 
was directly and positively connected. 

It would be hard to tell to what extent these cor- 
ruptions of the gospel have deprived the modern 
church of the presence of the Spirit of Christ, or re- 
placed this by the spirit of partyism ; but it is to be 
feared that the existing evils in religious society are 
very largely attributable to these departures from the 
natural and proper order originally established among 
the different particulars or requirements of the gos- 
pel. It is, at least, lamentably true that the whole 
frame-work of the gospel preached by the apostles 
has been remodeled to suit the views of theorists ; 
and that the "form of sound words," which still 
bears witness to the truth in the New Testament, 
is so modified in the religious systems of the day, 
as scarcely to be recognized. Salvation is a process, 
or progressive work, consisting of various successive 
steps or stages, and the order which God has estab- 

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lished among these, and their proper relations to each 
other, are certainly important to be observed, as well 
as the things themselves. As in nature, we have, 
first, the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in 
the ear, so, in the process of conversion, God has 
appointed a certain succession or order of things 
which is most conducive, if not essential, to the 
proper result The "gift of the Holy Spirit" is, as 
we have seen, the last of these in the Divine ar- 
rangement. All other things are preparatory. This 
is the completion of that system of things through 
which man is to be renewed "after the image of him 
that created him." In the Divine order relating to 
man, we have — I. The word of God, or gospel; 2. 
Hearing; 3. Faith; 4. Repentance; 5. Baptism; 6. 
Remission of sins ; 7. The gift of the Holy Spirit. 
All, preceding the last, are but means of attaining 
to this "fellowship of the Spirit," the great end or 
purpose of all, and without which all forms and pro- 
fessions and ordinances are alike nugatory and vain. 
And while it may, perhaps, be conceded that a certain 
degree of inversion or confusion in the Divine order 
of sequence, through ignorance or mistake, may not 
wholly frustrate the grace of God, or deprive his or- 
dinances of their proper efficacy, it yet remains true 
that the Divine purposes will be best accomplished, 
and the fullness of the blessing of the gospel be best 
attained, by a strict and scrupulous observance oT that 
order of sequence which God has appointed. That the 
order given above is the true one, will be sufficiently 
plain to any one who will receive the evidence of the 

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Scripture upon the subject ; since, wherever the various 
requirements and promises of the gospel are distinctly 
enumerated, ///^ constantly occur in this order t as in- 
deed is most appropriate and necessary, from the very 
nature of the things themselves.* " Faith cometh by 
hearing, and hearing by the word of God/' says Paul, 
Rom. x: 17. Reason and fact confirm the necessity 
of this order, since, where the gospel is not announced, 
there can be, and is, no believer. " Repent," said Peter 
to those who believed, "and be baptized in the name 
of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall 
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." "Arise," said An- 
anias to the believing and penitent Paul, "and be bap- 
tized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of 
the Lord." "In whom ye also trusted," says Paul to 
the Ephesians (i : 13) "after that ye heard the word of 
truth, the gospel of your salvation ; in whom also, after 
that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit 
of promise."! 

* When the Scripture speaks of " Repentance toward God, and faith 
in our Lord Jesus Christ," this is no exception to the rule stated, for 
this has reference to Jews who already believed in God, and needed 
then to repent (as John the Baptist required) and to believe in Christ. 
Thus Jesus said to his disciples : " Ye believe in God, believe also in 
me." Belief in Jesus always necessarily implies a prior belief in God, 
since Jesus is to be received as the Son of God. 

j-Upon this passage, the accurate Ellicott observes: " Uiarei) oavrec. 
is not present and contemporaneous with eo<f>pay'iG&7jTe t but antecedent, 
Compare'Acts xix : 2, and see Usteri Lehrb. II, 2, p. 267. The ordinary 
sequence, as Meyer observes, is (a) Hearing; (b) Faith, which of 
course implies preventing grace; (c) Baptism; (d) Communication of 
the Holy Spirit. Compare togeUier especially Acts ii : 37, 38 (a, c t d) ; 



Such is the delicacy of the relations which exist be- 
tween man and the spiritual system, and such the fa- 
cility with which Satan may interpose hindrances to 
fellowship between God and the human soul, that it is 
impossible to be too observant in regard to the method 
or plan, which God himself has ordained, in order to 
the enjoyment of this Divine fellowship. It is true, 
indeed, that the mere observance of a particular order 
can never of itself sec 11 re this. A superficial, mechan- 
ical, mercenary view of obedience, however just the or- 
der of that obedience, will leave the heart of the form- 
alist as spiritually empty and as unsanctified as at first, 
though filled with false confidence and Pharisaic pride. 
So ingenious are the devices of the wicked one, that 
he may succeed in replacing true faith and love by the 
low and groveling motives of a commercial selfishness, 
which is the direct opposite of the true principle of 
gospel obedience. Or he may induce a failure by 

viii : 6, 12, 17 (a, b t c, d) ; xix : 5, 6 (c, d). Acts x : 44 (d, c), and 
perhaps ix : 17, are exceptional cases. On the Divine order or method 
mercifully used by God in our salvation", see the brief but weighty re- 
marks of Hammond, Pract. Catech., I, 4, p. 83 (A. C. Libr.)." 

In speaking of the impartation of the Holy Spirit subsequent, and 
not prior, to faith and obedience, Archdeacon Hare makes the follow- 
ing just observations : "At all events, such is the order in which the 
work of our regeneration must now take place. We must be buried 
by baptism into the death of Christ, before we can rise again in new- 
ness of life. We must be justified through faith in the death of Christ, 
before we can be sanctified by the indwelling of the Spirit. The Spirit 
of sanctification is only given to those who have already been washed 
from their sins in the all-purifying blood of the Lamb." — Mission of 
the Comforter, p. 50. 


vitiating faith itself, and establishing in the mind those 
Socinian philosophies, which produce an utter skep- 
ticism in regard to the indwelling of the Spirit, and 
leave the heart to a vain dependence upon mere intel- 
lection. Deceived by specious glosses impo3ed upon 
the plainest declarations of Scripture, and persuaded 
that the gospel comes now " in word only," these pseudo- 
reformers may well be srupposed devoid of the Spirit, 
since their principles forbid them to 'seek, that 
they may find;' and to 'ask, that they may receive.' 
It is by means of this rationalism that Satan has con- 
trived to render to a large degree unfruitful, the best 
and truest efforts for the restoration of the primitive 
gospel, which, when thus shorn of its strength, is pre- 
sented only to provoke derision by its feebleness, since 
it is in letter only, but not in Spirit ; in principle, but 
not in practice. Such failures and aberrations, how- 
ever, detract not, in the slightest degree, from the 
plea for a return to the simplicity and order of the 
primitive gospel. This was itself corrupted in the 
beginning, and, in the very period of its power, failed 
to secure, in all cases, its beneficial ends. The rec- 
ord of its wondrous effect upon the many who believed 
in Jerusalem, but introduces the story of Ananias and 
Sapphira ; its triumphs in Samaria herald the merce- 
nary proposition of Simon Magus, and the impressi- 
ble and zealous Galatians were soon turned away from 
the truth by those who perverted the gospel of Christ. 
These things but serve to reveal the dangers which ever 
beset the pathway of truth, and serve only to inspire 
the faithful with greater watchfulness and diligence. 

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The Holy Spirit is also termed the " Spirit of 
Truth/' and he who is controlled by it can not do 
otherwise than labor for the advancement of the 
truth. To rescue the. gospel from modern corrup- 
tions of it, and to present it to the world in its 
primitive simplicity and purity, is a great and good 
work, dictated by the Spirit of God. This move- 
ment is now in progress, and its success thus far, 
amidst all its hinderances, has been remarkable. It 
is impossible to estimate the benefit resulting to re- 
ligious society from that emancipation from priestly 
rule and the intolerance of party spirit, which it has 
conferred. The greater liberality of religious feel- 
ing ; the increased desire for Christian union ; the 
changes and modifications in denominational pecul- 
iarities, are evidently largely due to that bold and 
earnest advocacy of a return to primitive Christian- 
ity, which, within the last half century, has com- 
pelled the attention of the public. But Satan may 
be expected to use his utmost efforts to frustrate the 
purposes designed, and disappoint the hopes of those 
who labor for the restoration of the gospel in its 
primitive power ; and there is hence demanded, on 
their part, the utmost vigilance, and a firm, uncom- 
promising adherence to the plain teaching of the 
Scriptures. They must realize that their mission is 
not accomplished until the gospel is restored in 
"Spirit" as well as in "letter;" in "practice" as well 
as in " principle ; " and should labor to expose every 
error which tends to prevent so desirable a consum- 

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In order, then, to the enjoyment of " the fullness 
of the blessing of Christ," it is necessary both to 
believe and to obey the truth ; to preserve, un- 
changed, the Divine order of- the gospel, and to em- 
ploy diligently every means necessary to secure the 
Divine promises. Among these means, in connec- 
tion with prayer, there is nothing more important 
than meditation and self-examination. Amidst the 
dangerous delusions of the hour, safety may be found 
only in the constant exercise of that self-superin- 
tendence, those heart-searchings, those earnest long- 
ings for spiritual fellowship, those, watchings and 
fastings, and that self-abnegation which the crisis 
demands. The heart must be purified from the lusts 
and ambitions of the world, and be emptied of every 
false and deceitful trust. It must be unveiled before 
the scrutiny of Conscience enlightened by truth ; 
and, in an humble sense of his own insufficiency, the 
believer must make his appeal to a higher judicature 
and cry with the Psalmist: "Search me, O God, and 
know my heart ; try me and know my thoughts ; and 
see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me 
in the way everlasting." A nearness to God, hereto- 
fore unattained, must be sought by those who would 
reform the world. The Church of Christ must be 
extricated from the materialism and worldly con- 
formity by which it is oppressed, and be lifted into a 
higher plane of spirituality and power, in order to 
the accomplishment of the blessed ends for which it 
was established. 

This is to be done only by a larger meas' re of the 

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Spirit of Christ. And this, as we have seen, is to be 
sought through faith, and purity, and prayer ; through 
a faithful obedience to the Divine commandments ; 
through the healing of religious divisions ; through a 
direct return to the simple gospel preached by the 
apostles, and a strict observance of the Divine order 
of its various requirements, in order that every thing 
may have its due place, and all things be conformed 
to the will of God. The final end and purpose of the 
entire gospel, we again repeat, is the renewal of the 
believer by the Holy Spirit, through which alone can 
be produced the proper fruits of Christianity, either 
in the individual member or in the church itself. To 
the individual, this gift, the Divine seal or attestation 
of sonship, imparts new energies and powers. " He 
which stablisheth us with you, in Christ," says Paul, 
" and hath anointed us, is God ; who hath also sealed 
us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." 
2 Cor. i: 21, 22. The Apostle here, to impress the 
fact most strongly, accumulates those terms which 
indicate the office of the Spirit, in reference to the 
believer. It "stablisheth," that is, confirms and as- 
sures the believer that he is in Christ It is the 
" anointing," the Christing ; the " unction " of which 
John speaks when he says, " Ye have an unction from 
the Holy One;" and of which Peter speaks to Cor- 
nelius, Acts x: 28, in declaring that "God anointed 
Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with 
power." It is also the "seal," the final attestation, 
the necessary confirmation or token of ownership 
and of appropriation, by which they that are Christ's 

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are themselves assured, and are to be known and rec- 
ognized. Finally, it is the "earnest of our inherit- 
ance" — an earnest, not merely in the sense of a 
pledge or assurance, but of partial anticipation or en- 
joyment of the inheritance, implying not merely se- 
curity, but identity in kind, though not in degree, 
and the unbroken continuity of that eternal life 
which the Christian enjoys in Christ ; "he that hath 
the Son," being already a participant of this life, (i 
John v: 12.) It was the prayer of Paul for the 
Ephesians that they might be "strengthened with 
might by his Spirit in the inner man ;" and that 
Christ might " dwell in their hearts by faith," — faith 
being ever the recipient means through which alone 
the Spirit could be recognized or enjoyed. And the 
object of this indwelling of Christ by the Spirit, 
was that, being " rooted and grounded in love," the 
great principle which was the chief of the Spirit's 
fruits, they might be enabled to have a suitable com- 
prehension of the wondrous things of redemption, 
and of Christ's love, which, nevertheless, in its bound- 
less depths transcended the grasp of human knowl- 
edge; and this, in order that finally they "might be 
filled with all the fullness of God," in thus having 
Christ fully formed in them, imparting to them those 
Spiritual perfections, and that Divine blessedness of 
which God's children were to be made partakers. 
Eph. iii : 14-19. 

Thus, as Christ prayed for the gift of the Spirit for 
his disciples, Paul also prays for the impartation of 
its blessings to the believers at Ephesus, as the effi- 

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cient means of attaining Christian perfection and re- 
alizing the ultimate ends of the gospel. Throughout 
the Scriptures, indeed, this matter is continually re- 
ferred to, and pressed upon the attention in the most 
earnest manner, showing the vast importance attached 
to the full realization of the promise, and stating and 
exemplifying the means through which it was to be 

And now, when we contemplate the religious world, 
as at present, in its divided and distracted state ; when 
we consider the Church in its present struggles with 
the world ; or the individual Christian, feeble and faint- 
ing amidst his trials ; when we see the apostasies, the 
worldly policies, the corrupted forms of religion, the 
plausible schemes of infidelity, and the various and in- 
numerable evils which every-where threaten the very 
existence of Christianity, to what source may the nec- 
essary appeal be made for help ? Through what means 
may the Church be renovated and prepared to meet 
the impending danger, and to fulfill her mission as the 
pillar and support of the truth ? Shall it be by any 
mere ecclesiastical union ? Shall it be by any scheme 
of church organization ? Will a strict adherence to 
ritualistic forms secure it ? Will it follow from any 
loose and sinful compromise of Divine truth — from 
any plan of " open communion " or of " close commun- 
ion ?" These are, indeed, some of trie poor expedi- 
ents by which weak mortals are now seeking to effect 
deliverance ; but such superficial appliances reach not 
the true seat of ailment. It is not by human contriv- 
ings or artificial arrangements ; by compromises with 

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the world, or any sacrifice of truth, that a vital Chris- 
tianity is to be restored to the world ; but by seeking 
the old paths ; by prayer and supplication ; by return- 
ing to the primitive faith and love ; by doing the first 
works, and by a manifestation in the life of those fruits 
of the Spirit which alone reveal the verity of religion, 
and demonstrate to the world the Divine mission of 

But, in order to the manifestation of the fruits of 
the Spirit, the presence of the Spirit himself is neces- 
sary. In vain do men weary themselves and the world 
with plans of reformation ; with systems of belief ; with 
schemes of union based on human wisdom. In vain do 
they imagine themselves to have discovered the secret 
of the power of the primitive church in its freedom 
from priestly rule ; or in its supernatural gifts ; or in 
any other exterior characteristic. That power was, 
indeed, wondrous. It was truly a secret, because an 
interior power, and its secret was the indwelling of 
the Spirit of God, giving unity, imparting energy, 
evolving the glorious fruits of Christianity, and pre- 
senting to the world, in every disciple, an illustration 
of the life of Christ — a life of love, and of labor, and 
of sacrifice for humanity. It is the presence now of 
this blessed Spirit, in a fuller measure, that is the 
true want of the Church ; but, in order to its attain- 
ment, the demons of bigotry and of denominational- 
ism must first be exorcised. The religious world 
must come and sit at the feet of Jesus, freed from its 
legion of theologies, and in its right mind, before it 
can receive his teachings. Men must return to the 

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simple faith of primitive times, and cease forever from 
those discords and dissensions which, in banishing 
peace, and substituting human speculations for Di- 
vine truth, have largely banished the Holy Spirit 
from the hearts of religious professors. 

But "the hour of redemption draweth nigh." The 
Lord will deliver his people and revive his work. 
Zion shall be raised from the dust and clothed with 
the beautiful garments of righteousness. In that day 
shall the church have indeed occasion to say: "O 
Lord, I will praise thee; though thou wast angry 
with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou 
comfortedst me. Behold, God is my salvation ; I 
will trust, and not be afraid ; for the Lord Jehovah 
is my strength and my song ; he also is become my 
salvation. Therefore with joy shall ye draw water 
out of the wells of salvation. And in that day shall 
ye say, Praise the Lord, call upon his name, declare 
his doings among the people, make mention that his 
name is exalted. Sing unto the Lord ; for he hath 
done excellent things : this is known in all the earth. 
Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion ; for great 
is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Isa. xii. 

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Influence of the Spirit in Conversion — Confounded with " the Gift of 
the Spirit" — Modern Views — State of the Question — Office of the 
Spirit in Relation to the World — Conviction of Sin, of Righteous- 
ness, and of Judgment — Accomplished by the Divine Testimony — 
Results of Modern Theories — Theories Unnecessary. 

IN pursuing the chronological and natural develop- 
ment of the subject, I have heretofore considered 
the relations of the Holy Spirit to believers only, or 
what is properly termed "the gift of the Holy Spirit." 
It is, however, a most important part of the office of 
the Spirit to influence and convert the unbelieving 
world, and it is proper that to this we should now di- 
rect our attention, as the great incipient work in the 
process of human redemption. Christianity is de- 
signed for the salvation of a perishing world. The 
apostles were sent out into all the world to preach 
the gospel, "with the Holy Spirit sent down from 
heaven," for the express purpose of 'turning men 
from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan 
unto God, that they might receive remission of sins, 
and an inheritance among those who were sanctified 
by faith in Christ.' There can be no question, then, 
that the conversion of sinners was, and is, due to the 
Holy Spirit, and that this constitutes an essential 
part of his work. 


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As conducive to a proper understanding of this 
important matter, it will be proper here, before pro- 
ceeding, to consider briefly the present state of the 
question as it presents itself in religious society, 
and to obviate, if possible, certain misapprehensions 
which present themselves directly in the way. The 
first and most important of these errors is, that the 
religious world, very generally, fail to make any proper 
distinction between the work of the Spirit, in the con- 
version of the sinner, and the " gift of the Holy Spirit" 
to the believer. They confound these together, indeed, 
in such a manner, as to render it evident that they 
have no idea of any difference in the relations which 
the sinner and the saint respectively sustain to the 
Holy Spirit, or that there is, or can be, different 
modes of operation. As a simple matter of fact, 
apart from any of the metaphysical theories with 
which the subject is incumbered, it is perfectly clear 
that, in the general view of the religious community, 
conversion is supposed to be effected by the direct 
gift of the Holy Spirit to the sinner. It is for this 
he is taught to pray and labor. It is by this he "ob- 
tains a hope" of salvation. The emotions or feelings 
which he experiences, are taken as the evidences of a 
true faith ; of a change of heart ; of the remission of 
sins ; of justification and of sanctification through 
^Christ, whose blood is supposed to be mysteriously 
applied to the heart and conscience in this "instan- 
taneous work," called conversion or regeneration. It 
is upon this, accordingly, that the individual ever- 
more thereafter rests his hope of acceptance. It 

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constitutes his entire "religious experience." To it 
he recurs, in moments of despondency, for consola- 
tion and support. The work of the Spirit is with 
him, in after time, not a present reality, but a mem- 
ory of the past ; and conversion is conceived to be, 
both the beginning and the ending of that renova- 
tion, which the Spirit accomplishes. Such is the 
view, at least, commonly entertained. A few of the 
more intelligent among the different parties may 
have better conceptions, but such are manifestly 
those held by the mass of religious society, and 
constantly taught and practically exhibited on all 
suitable occasions. 

There is no dispute, let it be remembered, as to 
the fact that the Holy Spirit imparts faith to the 
sinner, and gives him repentance, and leads him to 
confess and obey Christ. The point is, that mod- 
ern theology attributes all this and more to the im- 
mediate presence of the Holy Spirit in the sinner; to 
an actual and a direct importation of the Spirit, to 
enter into and purify his heart by a special and mys- 
terious power. The gist of the modern view is, that 
this is accomplished by the personal agency of the 
Spirit, which is conceived to be essential, and the 
only thing essential, as is clearly shown in this, that 
the word of God is not deemed necessary to the ef- 
fect, but it is supposed that this may be produced 
without the Word, which, in no case, is considered 
as more than a mere instrumentality, requiring an 
infusion of spiritual power, and as being, in default 
of this, inert and inefficacious. It is, thus, this mys- 

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terious "operation," internal, independent, direct, and 
overwhelming — a spiritual baptism — an immediate 
outpouring of the Spirit upon the unbeliever, in or- 
der to give to him true faith, that constitutes the 
popular regeneration, and the sole or chief idea of 
the Spirit's work in effecting- the salvation of men. 
It is the sinner who receives every thing, and who 
is the subject of the only distinct and direct influ- 
ence of the Spirit which the modern view admits ; 
conversion being thus inextricably confounded with 
"the gift of the Spirit," which, according to this the- 
ory, is conferred .thus upon the unbelieving world. 

It is here that another error reveals itself in this, 
that modern theology makes the mode of conversion 
the essential matter. That a sinner should " break 
off his sins by righteousness, and his iniquities by 
turning to the Lord," is admitted to be well enough ; 
but the question, theologically, is, was this supposed 
change brought about in a particular manner, and 
according to the rules approved by the " masters of 
assemblies ?" Was it the result of a special opera- 
tion? Can the candidate for church membership 
give an orthodox and satisfactory recital of the men- 
tal throes in which his transformation may have 
originated ? If he can, it is well ; if not, he will be 
rejected as unregenerate, since it seems to be not so 
much a favorable change that is required, as a change 
accomplished in a particular manner. Theologians, 
indeed, have wearied themselves and their readers 
with elaborate disquisitions upon the evidences of 
conversion, and have succeeded in involving the 

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whole matter in utter indefiniteness and confusion. 
But if any thing is to be made out of their incon- 
sistent theories, it is this, that conversion, to be valid, 
must arise from a direct and immediate operation of 
the Spirit. Conversion is thus judged of, not by what 
it is, but by the manner in which it has been brought 
about ; and the question in dispute is not the nature 
of the change effected, but the way or manner in 
which it was accomplished. It is admitted, on all 
hands, that conversion is by the Spirit. The debate 
is upon the point, whether the Spirit converts men 
by the evidences of the gospel presented to their 
minds, or by a special "instantaneous work," com- 
municating faith by supernatural power. It is upon 
this question that religious controversy, in modern 
times, has largely turned ; and, as regards the present 
state of religious society, there is, perhaps, no issue 
which needs more to be scripturally considered and 

We have seen, that the mission of the Comforter 
was, primarily, to the disciples. " He will guide you 
into all truth," said Jesus, "for he shall not speak of 
himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he 
speak, and he will show you things to come. He 
shall glorify me, because he shall receive of mine, and 
shall show it unto you." John xvi: 13, 14. This is 
a very remarkable declaration, showing that the 
Holy Spirit came not to make himself known, but to 
make Christ known. Similarly, Christ said of him- 
self, " The words that I speak unto you, I speak not 
of myself — I have not spoken of myself, but the 

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Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment 
what I should say, and what I should speak." John 
xii : 49. Christ thus, in like manner, came to make 
the Father known, to whom all things are ultimately 
referred, and to whom, through Christ, an access was 
to be obtained by one Spirit. At the Transfigura- 
tion, the Father introduced Jesus, in the presence of 
those representing the Law and the Prophets, in the 
oracle: "This is my Beloved Son, hear him;" and 
Christ, in turn, announcing the advent of the Com- 
forter, who was to complete the revelation of the 
love of God to men, declares that he also was to 
"speak" the things he received. 

As, under all these manifestations, the unity* of 
God is maintained, so, in all these revelations, there 
is perfect unity, harmony, and consistency ; all being 
designed to exhibit, in its different stages, the Divine 
plan of redemption in Christ. The Comforter, then, 
came not to make a distinct or independent revela- 
tion, but to take of the things of Christ, and show 
these to the disciples ; " to lead them into all the 
truth" involved in the mission and work of Christ, 
both as to his suffering for sin, and as to the things 
to come — the glory that should follow, in order that 
the Divine purposes, in him, might be fully made 
known to the world. This was to be accomplished 
by zvords ; through human speech; through intelligi- 
ble oral or written communications. Hence, as 
Jesus spoke the words, which the Father dictated, so 
the Spirit was to speak the things he heard, with 
which no human being could be permitted to inter- 

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fere in the slightest degree, in the way of addition, 
subtraction, or change. 

The apostles, being "filled with the Holy Spirit," 
were fully constituted and endowed as God's embas- 
sadors to the world, and were commanded to go into 
all the world and preach to every creature, that gos- 
pel which presented to men the love of God in Christ. 
The great object of the whole was, the salvation of 
the world. The church was to be gathered out of 
the world, throughout all ages ; as Christ himself, 
during his personal ministry, gathered his disciples 
out of the world. Hence, while the mission of the 
Spirit was, primarily, to the disciples, the ultimate 
purpose involved also the salvation of the unbeliev- 
ing world, and the mode in which this was to be 
effected is the present subject of inquiry. 

In announcing the advent of the Comforter, Christ 
said : " When he is come, he will convince the world 
of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." We have 
here, then, an express statement of the work of the 
Holy Spirit, as this relates to the world, and the par- 
ticulars here given, comprise his entire office, as re- 
spects the world at large. He was, in the first place, 
to "convince the world of sin." It is of very great 
importance to comprehend aright this declaration. 
The term "sin" here has very frequently been con- 
strued as sinfulness, and the sense has been supposed 
to be 'He will convince the world of unbelievers, 
individually, of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, and 
of their own great depravity, and need of repentance 
in order to salvation/ 

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In view of the fact, that it is difficult, if not im- 
possible, for any human being to form adequate con- 
ceptions of the malignity of sin, it would be neither 
an unlikely, nor an incorrect hypothesis to conceive, 
that a part, at least, of the office of the Holy Spirit 
would be, to assist men to form a clear and just no- 
tion in regard to their lost condition, which must, 
as a matter of course, lie at the very foundation of 
any effort for deliverance. It is a deep sense of sin, 
and of human frailty and inability, which alone can 
lead the soul to seek for refuge in the all-sufficiency 
of Christ ; and which must ever attend the believer 
in his life-long struggle against the powers of evil ; 
and there can be no question, but that it constitutes 
a most important part of the Holy Spirit's ,work, to 
create and maintain such convictions, essential to 
any movement or progress in the Divine life. A 
tender conscience, taking alarm at the very appear- 
ance of evil; a profound and abiding consciousness 
of the "exceeding sinfulness of sin an humble and 
a contrite heart which rests, " in trembling hope," 
upon the Divine mercy, are indubitable evidences of 
true religion, and of the presence of God's Spirit. 
It is well observed by the eminent Arnold, of Rugby : 
" In a deep sense of moral evil, more, perhaps, than 
in any thing else, abides a saving knowledge of 

The question before us here, however, is not one 
respecting this, or any other general truth, but one 
of Scripture interpretation ; and, while all that can 
be urged as to the importance of deep convictions of 

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sin in the human heart, is fully sanctioned, it does 
not at all follow that the passage before us has any 
immediate reference to these. It is amazing how 
great a looseness has existed in regard to the inter- 
pretation of Scripture ; how much men have been 
disposed to confound general with particular truths, 
and to overlook the most precious gems, while gaz- 
ing vaguely at the wide-spread field of revelation. 
They seem as though unaware of the fact, that we 
may err, ,as well by substituting one truth for 
another, as by substituting error for truth ; and that 
the proper question in the examination of any Script- 
ure is not, With what general truth does it coincide ? 
but What particular truth does it express ? What is 
the direct and immediate purport of the passage? 

"When the Comforter is come, he will convince 
the world of sin, said Jesus." If this be understood 
of sin in general, it would be at once implied that, 
prior to this, the world had never been convinced of 
its sinfulness, and had received no proper impressions 
in regard to its guiltiness before God. Nay, it would 
be justly understood as indicating that heretofore no 
effort, even, had been made for such a purpose, and 
that it would be left to the Comforter, when he came, 
to undertake this most necessary work. Further- 
more, it would be a fair conclusion that no one had 
ever been saved since the world began, as a true 
conviction of sin and a sincere repentance are indis- 
pensable to pardon. Such an application of the 
passage would be, therefore, palpably a false one, and 
utterly inconsistent with the facts of revelation and 

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of human history. From the time of the sin-offering 
of Abel, down through all the ages, amidst the Di- 
vine judgments, and express revelations upon this 
subject ; in presence of the innumerable victims upon 
Jewish and upon Gentile altars ; in view of the Mo- 
saic law, with its wondrous ritual, ordained for the 
very purpose of imparting a knowledge of sin, and 
all the inspiration of the prophets, and the examples 
of the suffering saints of God, it would be impossible 
to entertain for a moment the idea, that the world 
was at any period unprovided with the necessary evi- 
dences of its sinfulness, or that the people of God did 
not always possess just convictions upon the subject. 
The passage in question, therefore, can have no ref- 
erence to the general sinfulness of the world, or the 
particular state of human nature. The work which 
it announces is a special one. It is one which had 
not been, and in the nature of things could not have 
been, accomplished by any other agency or at any 
prior time. A conviction of sin was now to be im- 
parted to the world, of which it had previously no 
knowledge or experience whatever, and which was to 
contribute more to its salvation, than any lesson, or 
than all the lessons, it had learned. 

In order to perceive the true and precise meaning 
of the declaration before us, it is only necessary to 
consider it in its connection with the definite expla- 
nation which the Saviour himself gave. He did not 
leave the disciples under any incertitude as to its im- 
port, but went on to state specifically that the sin of 
which the Comforter would convince the world, was 

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unbelief in reference to himself " Of sin," added he, 
"because they believe not on me." The reference 
is here directly to the rejection of Christ, in his per- 
sonal mission as a suffering Saviour. He had often 
said to the people, " Ye will not come to me, that ye 
may have life." a Whom God hath sent, him ye be- 
lieve not." " Ye neither know me nor my Father," 
etc. But there was a time approaching when the 
Divine purposes would be more fully developed. 
"When ye have lifted up the Son of Man," said 
Jesus, " then shall ye know that I am he, and that I 
do nothing of myself ; but as my Father hath taught 
me, I speak these things." John viii: 28. It was 
the office of the Spirit, then, to show to the world, at 
the proper time, that Jesus was indeed the Son of 
God, the promised Messiah, and that it had sinned in 
rejecting him. 

This we, accordingly, find to be the point first 
pressed upon the attention of the people, in the 
discourses of the apostles. Speaking as the Holy 
Spirit gave him utterance, Peter, on the Day of Pen- 
tecost, charges the multitude with this very sin of 
having rejected Christ. "Him ye have taken," said 
he, " and by wicked hands have crucified and slain, 
whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains 
of death." "Therefore," he adds in conclusion, "let 
all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath 
made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both 
Lord and Christ." It was when they heard this, and 
realized its truth from the miraculous confirmations 
which accompanied it, that they were convinced of 

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sin in not having believed on Christ, and, pierced to 
the heart, cried out, " Men and brethren what shall 
we do?" In like manner, the apostles every-where 
in their addresses, charged home upon the consciences 
of men, this sin of rejecting Christ ; and, by the evi- 
dences which the Holy Spirit enabled them to sub- 
mit of his Divine mission, convinced them of the 
unreasonableness and criminality of their disbelief. 
" Ye denied the Holy One and the Just," said Peter 
in Solomon's Porch, " and desired a murderer to be 
granted unto you$ and killed the Prince of Life, 
whom God hath raised from the dead ; whereof we 
are witnesses." Acts iii: 14, 15. "They that dwell 
at Jerusalem and their rulers," (says Paul at Anti- 
och,) "because they knew him not, nor yet the voices 
of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, 
they have fulfilled them in condemning him. — But 
God raised him from the dead : and he was seen 
many days of them which came up with him from 
Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto 
the people." Acts xiii: 27-31. But it is unneces- 
sary to multiply quotations to show how the Holy 
Spirit, working and speaking by the apostles, con- 
vinced the world of sin in the rejection of Christ. 
In accomplishing this, we find that they reasoned 
with the people out of the Scriptures, opening and 
alleging that Christ must needs thus have suffered, 
and risen again from the dead ; and " that this Jesus, 
whom I preach unto you is Christ." Acts xvii : 3. 

In thus convincing the world of sin in disbelieving, 
the Spirit, at the same time, convinced men that it 

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was their duty to believe ; for it was only so far as 
faith in Jesus was produced, that men could be con- 
vinced of the sin of disbelief. To "convince the world 
of sin," then, because of its rejection of Christ! was 
simply to produce faith in Christ; and this faith, it 
will be seen, was produced by the testimony of 
prophets and apostles. The people were addressed 
in words; the proper evidence was laid before them, 
and it was when they " heard these things," that they 
were convinced of the Messiahship of Jesus. Faith 
thus "came by hearing, and hearing by the word of 
God." In convincing men that Jesus was, indeed, 
the Son of God, by laying before them indubitable 
evidences of the fact, the Holy Spirit convinced 
them, at the same moment, of sin in having re- 
jected and denied him, when he appeared in the 
guise of the " Man of sorrows." It is evident, from 
the narrative, that this conviction was produced by 
the evidence placed before the mind, and not by any 
direct mysterious supernatural operation upon the heart 
by the Spirit, independently of the Divine testimony. 
It was not, as we have formerly shown, until believ- 
ers confessed their faith, and became obedient to the 
command of the gospel, that they realized the prom- 
ise, "You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." 
See Acts ii : 38. 

It was, thus, the office of the Paraclete to convince 
the world of a particular sin which it had committed, 
viz., the rejection of the Christ. " Of sin," said he, 
"because they believe not on me." This was, by 
way of eminence, the sin of that age, both of Jews 

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and Gentiles. "He came unto his own," says John, 
"and his own received him not." "The kings of the 
earth and the rulers," says Peter (Acts iv: 26, 27), 
"were gathered together against the Lord and against 
his Christ. For of a truth, against thy holy child 
Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and 
Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of 
Israel, were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy 
hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." 
As, typically under the Mosaic law, the sinner laid 
his hand upon the head of his sin-offering, so the en- 
tire world, both Jews and Gentiles, by their official 
representatives — Herod, Pilate, Caiphas, called "the 
princes of this world," 1 Cor. ii: 8 — laid their hands 
upon the Lamb of God, who was to take away the 
sin of the world, and consigned him to the death of 
the cross. This they did, according to the Divine 
purpose, in derogation of the claim of Jesus to be the 
Son of God ; and the rejection of the true Messiah 
became thus the great special sin, which, first and 
chief of all, needed to be brought home to the con- 
victions of men ; being in itself not only the culmi- 
nation of human guilt, but constituting the actual 
ground of final condemnation. " If 7 had not come 
and spoken to them," said Jesus "they had not had 
sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin." " He 
that believeth on him is not condemned, but he that 
believeth not is condemned already, because he has 
not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son 
of God." The rejection of Christ was the rejection 
©f the world's true sin-offering, and, hence, compre- 

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hended, in its consequences, all sin, and, unrepented 
of, left the unbeliever wholly beyond the pale of for- 
giveness. To confess Christ, on the other hand, and 
to receive him in his true character, was to obtain 
deliverance from all sin, and to enter into the favor 
and fellowship of God. The great and only question 
then was, belief in Christ — the acknowledgment of 
Jesus as the Messiah. The matter at issue then was, 
and ever since has been, whether or not Jesus of Naz- 
areth is the Son of God. To bear witness, therefore, 
to the Messiahship of Jesus, and to convince the world 
of their sin in rejecting him, constituted the first and 
chief work of the Paraclete. 

It was another part of his office, as this related to 
the world, to "convince the world of righteousness." 
The sense here is not, any more than in the case of 
conviction of sin, the loose, general, indefinite, and 
pointless one generally entertained, but has a direct, 
immediate, and personal relation to Christ himself. 
"Of righteousness," said he "because I go to the 
Father, and ye see me no more." It was then, from 
the ascension of Jesus, and his glorification at the 
right hand of God, that this "righteousness" was to 
be deduced, ft was because he went to the Father, 
and was no more on earth, but was enthroned in 
heaven, that the Comforter was to convince the 
world of the truth of his claims as the Son of God, 
and the Saviour of the world. The evidence fur- 
nished by the advent and miraculous works of the 
Spirit in proof of Christ's return to God, evinced at 
the same moment that he had been sent of God, and 

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was fully justified in all his acts and in all his teach- 
ings. It showed that he had properly and rightly 
.claimed to be the Son of God. 

The demonstration of the sublime fact, however, of 
his ascension to the Father, involved much more than 
his own personal righteousness ; for, in verifying and 
ratifying his official work, and. proving the acceptance 
of the offering which he made to God, it reveals him 
necessarily as "made to be sin for us, that we might 
be made the righteousness of God in him." It pre- 
sents him as the Lord our righteousness, and makes 
known to the world that God can be just in justifying 
those who believe in Jesus. It substantiates and con- 
firms the Divine plan of redemption witnessed by the 
Law and the prophets, and accomplished in the life 
and death of the Son of God. Hence, the Spirit was 
to "convince the world of righteousness," both as this 
related to Jesus and to the world itself, and to assure 
men of that Divine righteousness which is by faith 
of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that be- 
lieve — to convince men that they could be justified 
freely only by the grace of God, "through the redemp- 
tion that is in Christ Jesus." 

Apart from the fact that a conviction of sin must 
necessarily precede either the desire or the gift of par- 
don, there was a beautiful propriety that this convic- 
tion of righteousness should immediately succeed the 
conviction of sin. It was in harmony with the infi- 
nite philanthropy of God, that he should thus seek at 
once to assuage the sorrows of the sin-stricken heart, 
awakened to the consciousness that it had rejected 

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the love of Christ, by the assurance that in him, nev- 
ertheless, there was mercy and plenteous redemption. 
It was this gracious revelation of the love of God in 
Christ which was indeed fitted to lead men to "break 
off their sins by righteousness, and their iniquities by 
turning to the Lord" — to say,' in the language of the 
prophet, " Come, and let us return unto the Lord ; for 
he hath torn and he will heal us ; he hath smitten and 
he will bind us up." Hosea vi : I. We find, accord- 
ingly, that the Comforter, speaking by the mouth of 
the apostles, perfectly thus fulfilled his mission, and 
that multitudes were thus induced to submit them- 
selves to "the righteousness of God." "Ye denied 
the Holy One and the Just," said Peter to the multi- 
tude, "and desired a murderer to be granted unto 
you, and killed the Prince of Life." "And now, breth- 
ren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also 
your rulers. But those things which God before had 
showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ 
should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. Repent ye, there- 
fore, and be converted, "that your sins may be blotted 
out." Acts iii : 14-19. " Be it known unto you, there- 
fore, men and brethren," said Paul, after rehearsing 
the rejection and death of Christ, " that through this 
man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins. 
And by him all that believe are justified from all 
things from which ye could not be justified by the 
law of Moses." Acts xiii: 38, 39. It was thus char- 
acteristic of God's justification, that it was obtained 
through faith, and not by works of law, or any human 
device, and that it was a full and free acquittal to every 

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one who became alive unto God, through faith in 
Jesus Christ, who was thus made to him "wisdom, 
righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." 

As before, in the case of the conviction of sin, the 
Comforter assured the world of this righteousness, 
through the usual channels by which men's minds 
are reached — viz., by the facts and evidences which 
it placed before them, as is abundantly evident from 
the sacred record. " Go, speak to the people all the 
words of this life," was the Divine messenger's com- 
mand to Peter. "Send men to Joppa and call for 
Simon, whose surname is Peter ; who shall tell thee 
words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved," 
was the angel's direction to Cornelius ; who, doing as 
he was bidden, heard the gospel announced by Peter, 
and, after belief, received the gift of the Holy Spirit. 
The Spirit was, in no case, given to unbelievers — to 
the people of the world — in order to produce faith in 
them, or to convince them of sin or of righteousness. 
The world could not receive the Comforter as an in- 
dwelling presence. Christ thus manifested himself 
to the obedient, but not thus unto the world. John 
xiv: 21-23. These convictions were effected through 
the truths presented to the minds and hearts of 
men, opened to receive them by means of various 
agencies hereafter to be considered. 

Similarly, in the third place, he was to " convince 
the world of judgment." This would be done, "be- 
cause," said Jesus, " the Prince of this world is 
judged." When he uttered these words, he was 
about to "destroy, through death, him that had the 

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power of death," and to overthrow the empire of that 
mighty spiritual enemy who ruled in the hearts of 
the children of disobedience. When anticipating the 
agonies of the last mortal conflict, he said, " Now is 
my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, 
save me from this hour? But for this cause came I 
unto this hour. Father, glorify thy name. Then 
came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both 
glorified it, and will glorify it again." " Now," said 
Jesus to the people, " is the judgment of this world, 
now shall the Prince of this world be cast out. And 
I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men 
unto me." He who was "the light of the world," 
had carried on successfully the mighty struggle with 
the Prince of darkness from the hour of his tempta- 
tion in the wilderness, and now, as the time of his 
final conflict drew near, he announced the entire 
overthrow of the Ruler of this world, who previously 
had been apparently left in almost undisturbed pos- 
session of his earthly kingdom; God having, we 
are told, "winked at the times of ignorance," and 
suffered the nations " to w r alk in their own ways." 
The time had now arrived, however, when a new 
dynasty was to be established on the earth, and 
when the Ruler of the darkness of the world was to 
be arraigned, condemned, and dethroned. The king- 
dom of God, no longer adumbrated in prophetic 
types and imagery, was to be really established 
among men. " If I cast out devils by the Spirit of 
God," said Jesus to the Jews, " then the kingdom of 
God is come unto you. Or else, how can one enter 

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into a strong man's house and spoil his goods, except 
he first bind the strong man and then he will spoil 
his goods?" Baffled and discomfited, the Adversary 
was permitted to exert his utmost malignity against 
the Son of man and his feeble followers, whom, but 
for Divine aid, he would have . overcome and en- 
slaved. Allowed, for a time, an apparent triumph, 
that the Divine purposes might be accomplished, he 
enters into Judas, and, in the betrayal of Christ, em- 
ploys the hour conceded to him and to the powers 
of darkness, to destroy, as he supposed, that mysteri- 
ous One who had, thus far, resisted his machinations 
and opposed his rule. "The Prince of this world 
cometh," said Jesus, "and hath nothing in me." For 
it was at the very moment when, upon the cross, he 
announced the completion of the sacrifice, that, with 
a loud shout of victory, he cast away from himself 
those malignant spiritual foes who had pursued and 
beset his pathway in human life, and, that, " having 
spoiled principalities and powers, he made a show of 
them openly," triumphing over them through that 
very death in which they sought his overthrow. 
Mysterious and mighty conflict ! but faintly and im- 
perfectly realized even by the spiritually enlightened, 
and of which the world is unconscious ; yet upon 
which the destinies of the human race, and even of 
the material universe, are suspended. Happy are 
they who follow the Great Captain of Salvation, and, 
under his banner, continue to fight the good fight of 
faith, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, 
against the hosts of wicked spirits in the aerial realms, 



that they may partake with Jesus in the glory of the 
ultimate triumph ! 

Religion consists not in doctrines or in abstrac- 
tions. It is, on the contrary, most practical and per- 
sonal. It is a person that is believed in ; it is a per- 
son that believes. It is a person who protects ; it is 
a person who seeks to destroy. Every-where in 
Scripture, the struggle is represented as direct, im- 
mediate, real ; and the Mighty Leader in the conflict, 
familiar with the mysteries of the spiritual and un- 
seen world, sometimes presents to his disciples start- 
ling facts from thence, demanding their attention, or 
directly threatening their safety, of which they were 
wholly ignorant. " I beheld Satan," like lightning, 
44 fall [fallen 7ztabvxa\ from heaven," (Luke x: 18,) said 
he to the seventy, when they recounted their success 
in casting out demons. They knew not of the dis- 
comfiture and downfall of the Prince of the demons, 
through their labors, as did Jesus, before whom the 
secrets of the spirit-world were laid open. Again, 
he warns the disciples, " Satan hath desired you that 
he may sift you as wheat." (Luke xxii: 31.) Of 
this, they were wholly unaware, and how great their 
danger was, may be seen in the case of Peter, who, left 
for a time to himself, was led to deny his Master, and 
rescued from the grasp of the Enemy only through 
the prayerful watchcare of Him to whom all things 
were revealed. Christ, as the second Adam, had 
been set forth as the opposer of the Prince of this 
world, and was destined to overthrow and destroy 
him, and the kingdom of darkness over which he 

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ruled. It was a conflict of which "men in the 
flesh " knew nothing ; and of which even the disci- 
ples, prior to the advent of the Holy Spirit, had 
most imperfect conceptions. It was, hence, one of 
the three important ofTices of the Paraclete to con- 
vince the world that the Prince of this world was 
now brought into judgment ; that his kingdom was 
assailed, and that his followers, if they repented not, 
should perish with him. The Holy Spirit accord- 
ingly, by the apostles, "commanded all men every- 
where to repent," announcing to them that God had 
appointed a day in which he would "judge the world 
in righteousness by that man whom he had ordained." 
To assure the world thus of "judgment" became a 
prominent feature in the addresses of those who 
"spoke as the Holy Spirit gave them utterance;" 
the judgment of the world being necessarily involved 
in that of the Prince of this world, who, in the pas- 
sage under consideration, is appropriately made to 
stand forth as the prominent criminal — the "deceiver 
of the nations," the great " Adversary " — the Enemy 
of God and man ; " the Ruler of the darkness of this 
world," "the Great Dragon," that old serpent called 
the Devil and Satan. 

The work, then, of the Paraclete, so far as it re- 
lated to the world, was to convince the world of 
these three most important truths : 

1. The Messiahship of Jesus, or, as otherwise ex- 
pressed, of their sin in not believing on Jesus. 

2. The justification of sinners, as involved in the 
justification and glorification of Christ. 

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3. The judgment of the world, involved in that of 
the Prince of this world. 

When now, as before stated, we examine the 
recorded addresses of the apostles to the unbeliving 
world, we find these to consist precisely of these 
themes; the forms of expression and proofs adduced, 
being changed or modified according to circum- 
stances, but all having, as their chief purport, to con- 
vince men that Jesus was the promised Messiah ; that 
they could obtain salvation through his name, and that 
God had ordained the judgment of the impenitent.* 
The apostles were sent into the world, accordingly, to 
preach the gospel to every creature, and to gather out 
of the world the ecclesia, or church, whose members, 
believing (icz) on Christ, and justified though faith, had 
come out from among the ungodly, that God might 
"walk in them and dwell in them," and that they 

* That the announcement of a future judgment was regarded by 
Paul as a part of the gospel, is evident from what he says, Rom. ii: 
16: " In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men, by Jesus 
Christ, according to my gospel.' 11 In his address to the Athenians, Acts, 
xvii: 30, 31, he announces the same great truth, as involved in the gos- 
pel facts. ** God " says he, " now commandeth all men, every-where, to 
repent, because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge 
the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained, whereof 
he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from 
the dead." In Paul's view, the great fact of the gospel, the resurrec- 
tion of Christ, revealing a future state, was itself a proof that God had 
appointed him to judge the world; and this, as well as the future judg- 
ment itself, was hence naturally a part of the gospel proclamation — 
which includes not only the simple facts, but all the inevitable conse- 
quences of these facts. 



might be "his sons and daughters," separated from 
the world, "a peculiar people, a holy nation." The 
disciples were thus ever the " light of the world," the 
"salt of the earth." From them the word of the 
Lord sounded forth. By them the word of truth was 
manifested through preaching, and the world was thus 
convinced of sin, righteousness and judgment; and 
just so far as the truth became effective, was "turned 
unto the Lord." We read accordingly, of the people 
of the world, that "when they heard these things 
they were pierced to the heart," that " many of them 
which heard the word, believed," that the "apostles 
so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and 
also of the Greeks believed," (Acts xiv: 1) ; that 
"many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were 
baptized " (Acts xviii : 8) ; in short, every-where we 
find that the preaching of the gospel was the means 
of conversion, that faith came by hearing, and "hear- 
ing by the word of God." In no case was the Holy 
Spirit given to any one who was of the world. In 
no case was faith produced by any internal super- 
natural operation upon the heart, by the Spirit, as it 
is fashionable now to allege. On the contrary, it was 
always the result of the Divine testimony, placed 
before the minds and hearts of men ; and, in all 
cases, the belief of this testimony was a condition 
absolutely necessary to the enjoyment of the bless- 
ings of the gospel — the remission of sins, the gift 
of the Holy Spirit, and the hope of eternal life. 
Such are the plain and simple facts, as they present 
themselves unmistakably upon the faithful and sacred 

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record of the acts and teachings of the apostles and 
first preachers of Christianity. 

In modern days, however, the above mentioned 
theories of conversion and regeneration by an im- 
mediate operation of the Holy Spirit upon the heart 
of the unbeliever, have gained extensive currency, 
and have been carried to such extremes as to render 
the preaching of the gospel, in a good degree ineffect- 
ual ; the word of God being disparaged and neglected 
by many who, believing these theories, await the 
expected " operation," or failing to experience it, 
either languish in despair or become disbelievers in 
religion altogether. On account of the prevalence 
and evil effect of these theories, there are not a few 
who have been carried away to an opposite extreme ; 
depreciating religious emotions ; adopting a frigid 
philosophy of selfish motivity, and utterly denying 
that any influence except that of " words and argu- 
ments" is employed in turning sinners "from dark- 
ness to light, and from the power of Satan unto 
God." It is greatly to be regretted that such theo- 
ries, or indeed theories of any kind in regard to the 
mode of operation of either word or Spirit, should 
have been adopted and propagated upon this subject ; 
and that, too, as zealously as if the belief of them 
was as important as conversion itself. 

In apostolic times, there were no such controver- 
sies, and no such speculations. The matter then 
was, to preach the gospel, to sow the good seed of 
the kingdom, and leave the event to God. The 
primitive disciples did not presume to inquire how 

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the seed grew up and brought forth fruit ; nor did 
they endeavor to establish any particular theory of 
conversion. They were content to preach the word, 
to employ all prescribed human means, and to trust 
in God for results.* They knew that Paul might 
plant, and Apollos water, but that it was God who 
gave the increase. They were wont to expect that 
God would " give repentance to the acknowledging 
of the truth," and " open " the " hearts of hearers, so 
that they would "attend to the things which were 
spoken." But they did not, like modern religionists, 
insist upon any particular theory as to the manner 
in which the heart was opened to truth; nor did 
they, in any one single instance, attribute this to a 
direct and immediate operation of the Holy Spirit. 
There was, nevertheless, an "opening" of the heart, 
a granting of " repentance," a giving of "increase" on 
God's part, and it seems proper, in the present state 
of religious sentiment, to consider, at least briefly, 
how Divine truth may become effective, and to show 
that the results attributed to "direct special spirit- 
ual operations," by the popular theory, are to be ex- 
plained upon principles much more in harmony with 
fact, with human experience and the teaching of the 
Bible. In the first place, however, it will be neces- 
sary to comprehend clearly and distinctly what re- 
generation is, according to the Scriptures. 

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The Nature and Necessity of Regeneration generally agreed upon— » 
Importance of the Change — How represented in Scripture — Not 
an Act, but a Process — Different parts of this Process — Baptism : 
how related to it — Extreme Views — Scripture the only Guide. 

WITH regard to the necessity of conversion or 
regeneration, and even in regard to the na- 
ture of the change so denoted, there is really, after 
all, but little diversity of opinion. The differences 
existing have relation chiefly to the mode in which 
the change is effected, this change itself being ad- 
mitted to be both a necessary and a spiritual one. 
This is most emphatically declared by Christ himself, 
when he says that, " Except a man be born again he 
can not see the kingdom of God," and that "except a 
man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not 
enter into the kingdom of God." That the change 
here implied is a great one, and hence strikingly and 
justly represented as a 'renovation/ a 'new creation,' 
a passing "from darkness to light," "from the power 
of Satan unto God," "from death to life," etc., is not 
to be controverted. That it is a real, and not merely 
a figurative change, or a change of state, is likewise 
evident. It is, indeed, represented under the figure 

of a birth, and some might suppose the actual change 

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to be something quite indefinite and ideal, pictured 
forth as a birth merely from some fanciful resem- 
blance. It should be remembered, however, that the 
figures employed by Christ, have a significance which 
extends often far beyond their use as illustrations. 
That Divine Word, now made flesh, was himself the 
Author of Nature. All things were made by him, 
and it was he who had established all existing pro- 
cesses and relations. An analogy employed by him, 
therefore, may have much more force and depth of 
meaning than is derived from mere resemblance. 
When he says to the disciples, " I am the true vine, 
ye are the branches, ,, he uses not a rhetorical orna- 
ment, but expresses a profound truth. He who cre- 
ated the natural vine, and established the necessary 
relation between it and its branches, reveals a rela- 
tion equally necessary between himself and his dis- 
ciples. This is not the mere illustration but the 
revelation of a spiritual fact, which, so to speak, is 
even more real than the visible and outward sem- 
blance from which the analogy is derived, for it is 
Christ that is here the true vine. Precisely so, 
when he describes the great change implied in con- 
version, or the entrance into the kingdom of God, as 
a birth, this is not a mere analogy, but the annuncia- 
tion of a most momentous spiritual truth, of which 
the process of natural generation afforded the most 
appropriate and complete representation. 

That regeneration is most appropriately termed a 
being " born again of water and of the Spirit," is 
furthermore made most evident by the frequency 



with which this representation is given of it in other 
parts of Scripture, and that, too, by different apostles, 
all concurring in the same view and with one accord, 
making use of the same analogy. That each one of 
them had the same conception of the change called 
regeneration, is clearly shown by the singular cor- 
respondence which exists between their various ut- 
terances on the subject, and also by the manner in 
which they refer to different parts of the same process. 
For it should be observed, that as natural birth or 
generation, in its full sense, is not an act, but a pro- 
cess — a series of acts — a progressive development 
terminating in the birth of a new being, so also is 
the spiritual birth or regeneration. There can be no 
greater error than to regard the " birth from above," 
as simply an act, and no greater absurdity than to 
suppose this act accomplished by a reception of the 
Spirit. To conceive regeneration as a simple act is 
to confound all analogy. To regard the reception of 
the Spirit as regeneration, is to suppose that which is 
not yet in being, to be capable of receiving that 
Spirit by which it is itself to be called into being ! 
No one can be born of that which he receives, for 
the simple reason that he must be born, must be 
himself brought into existence, before he can receive 
any thing. Regeneration, therefore, and the gift of 
the Holy Spirit are matters wholly distinct, just as is 
natural birth, and the breathing of the air which first 
wakens up the dormant life of the infant. 

As, in the process of natural generation, we have 
various particulars, stages, and agencies, so also, in a 


spiritual generation, or a regeneration, have we differ- 
ent steps and instrumentalities. These so strikingly 
correspond, that, as we have said, they are constantly 
employed and referred to, throughout the New Testa- 
ment, as different parts of one and the same analogy. 
Christ first reveals the fact that a man must be born 
again before he can see the kingdom of God, and that 
he must be born of water and Spirit before he* can 
enter into it. James informs us (perhaps thirty years 
later) that "God of his own will begat us by, or with, 
the word of truth." James i: 18. This "word of 
truth," the usual expression to denote the gospel, is 
again particularly mentioned by Peter, in specially 
referring to this process of regeneration. "See," said 
he, "that ye love one another with a pure heart fer- 
vently, being born again, not of corruptible seed, but 
of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and 
abideth forever;" and to define still more accurately, 
he adds: "and this is the word which by the gospel 
is preached unto you." i Peter i: 22-25. Paul, in 
his first letter to the Corinthians, furnishes a similar 
identification: "In Christ Jesus," says he, "I have be- 
gotten you through the gospel." 1 Cor. iv: 15. See, 
also, Philemon, verse 10. Not to refer to other pas- 
sages, all in perfect harmony with these, we have here, 
very evidently, God represented as the begetter, and 
the word of truth, or gospel, as the incorruptible seed 
which gives origin to the child of God. John, accord- 
ingly, says: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the 
Christ [equivalent to believing the gospel] is born 
[begotten] of God." It is the gospel, then, revealed, 

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confirmed, and preached by the Holy Spirit, which, 
received into the heart by faith, gives origin to a new 
being, possessed of a new life, and of a new nature ; 
and which, thus begotten and quickened by the Spirit, 
is now to be born of water, as the appropriate symbol 
of purification, and the mode of entrance into the king- 
dom of heaven, established on the earth. That this 
birth of water occurs in baptism (immersion), is evi- 
dent, since, in Christianity, there is no other use of 
water than in baptism ; and Paul expressly connects 
it with regeneration, in saying, "he saved us by the 
washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy 
Spirit ; " the washing here spoken of, being admitted 
by all commentators worthy of respect to be baptism. 
The "renewing of the Holy Spirit," spoken of here, is 
not conversion. This "renewing" proceeds from that 
"gift of the Spirit" imparted subsequently to baptism, 
and by which the entire man is to be conformed to 
the image of Christ, as set forth in the preceding 
part of this treatise. 

It is manifest, therefore, that baptism, while it does 
not itself constitute regeneration in any case, is, never- 
theless, necessarily associated with the completion of 
the process, so termed ; and this, not only as the ap- 
propriate symbol of this completion, but also as a suit- 
able token of that purification obtained through the 
death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, which it rep- 
resents. He whom God has begotten by the word of 
truth, the gospel, comes forth from the baptismal wa- 
ter as from the womb, and is thus born into a new life, 
all sins being forgiven, or washed away, through faith 


in the blood of Christ. Hence it is, that baptism is 
constantly associated in the Scriptures with conver- 
sion. "Christ loved the church," says Paul, Eph. v: 
25, "and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify 
and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word." 
Here, the reference to baptism and to the gospel is 
unmistakable. The "washing of water/' here, is bap- 
tism, and this baptism is "by the word." The term 
rendered "word," here, is 'ftf/m (hrema), always used 
by Paul of words proceeding from God, and applying 
directly to the gospel heard and believed ; through 
which reception of the gospel alone, the "washing 
of water" could become spiritually a "washing" or 
cleansing. Thus the proper connection and relation 
of things is every-where maintained. As before cited, 
Peter commanded believers to "repent and be bap- 
tized for the remission of sins." Ananias told the be- 
lieving Paul to be baptized and wash away his sins ; 
and, in the great commission given by Christ to the 
apostles, the same evident important connection is 
asserted, when he said, " He that believeth [the gos- 
pel], and is baptized, shall be saved." There is, first, 
the belief of the word of truth — the begetting ; then 
the baptism, the symbolic birth from water, required 
to complete the process, both analogically and spirit- 
ually ; baptism becoming by faith a spiritual symbol — 
an appropriate representation of the completion of that 
true inward change which constitutes regeneration. 

This change is denoted in Scripture in many dif- 
ferent forms of speech, both literal, metaphorical, and 
analogical. It is a " believing," a " turning," as it re- 

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spects the sinner; an 'engrafting/ a 'planting/ a 'cre- 
ating/ an ' enlightening/ as it relates to the work of 
the Spirit, etc. ; but there is no representation of it 
which so fully and so fitly exhibits it, or is so fre- 
quently and so forcibly employed for this purpose, in 
regard both to the whole process and to the differ- 
ent parts of it, as that of a " regeneration," or a be- 
ing "born again." It is to be noted, also, that this 
particular analogy connects itself most naturally with 
that new system of things then introduced, known 
first as the " kingdom of heaven," or " kingdom of 
God," respecting which Christ was speaking to Nic- 
odemus when he first used the analogy. The sub- 
jects of a kingdom become such, usually, by being 
bom into it. Hence the great appropriateness of 
such a representation in relation to the new king- 
dom now to be established on the earth. Into this 
kingdom, it was declared that no one could enter, ex- 
cept by being born again — "born of water and Spirit." 
Here, "water" and "Spirit" were both announced as 
necessarily connected with this birth, and neither the 
one nor the other was, or is, to be dispensed with. 
This reference to being "born of water," it should be 
noted, was made by Christ at the beginning of his 
ministry, immediately after the baptism of a large 
part of the Jewish people in water, as well as of his 
own public baptism in water by John, when his men- 
tion of "water" in connection with religion, could not 
well be understood of any thing but baptism (immer- 
sion), in which alone a birth of, or from, water oc- 
curred. And that the reference is to this, and to 



nothing else, is abundantly evident from the fact 
that Paul (Titus iii: 5) directly connects a "wash- 
ing" or "bath" with regeneration; as well as from 
the admitted requirement of a baptism in water in 
all cases of conversion, as commanded in the Com- 
mission, and every-where exemplified in the Acts of 
Apostles as immediately and invariably following be- 
lief. Precisely as the birth succeeds the begetting in 
the arrangements of nature, so evermore does bap- 
tism, the birth of water, follow belief, the begetting 
by the word of truth, in the spiritual kingdom. 

Nor does this kingdom, in the slightest degree, 
compromise its spiritual character, in thus deriving 
from material nature, so expressive an emblem of one 
of its momentous facts. It remains in itself truly 
and essentially spiritual. In its own nature, it 
" cometh not with observation." It is not a kingdom 
of this world. Nevertheless, it addresses itself to 
men in the flesh. It places its claims before them, 
and they are invited and urged to enter into it. This 
they can not do by any natural process. They can 
not be born into this kingdom, as the Jews were born 
into the kingdom of Israel, according to the flesh. 
As respected the spiritual kingdom, the flesh profited 
nothing ; a descent from Abraham profited nothing. 
The kingdom of heaven demanded a " birth from 
above," a Divine begetting, a spiritual quickening, a 
special and prescribed form of admission. Hence, it 
was, from a spiritual and unseen source alone, that 
the new life, and the new being to be revealed in it, 
could proceed. This kingdom could be perceived by 

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faith alone; it could be entered only by a spiritual 
birth. Whatever of a formal, external, or visible 
character it might adopt to represent, emblematically, 
spiritual facts to men in the flesh, these outward 
symbols could possess in themselves no efficiency, 
and could acquire no assimilation to the nature of 
that unseen kingdom which they but shadowed forth, 
and to which they could have even this emblematic 
relation through faith alone. It is from its spirit- 
ual nature, indeed, that Christianity employs, most 
sparingly, the visible and the tangible, in the incul- 
cation or adumbration of its truths. The baptismal 
birth ; the bread and the wine of the Lord's supper 
the commemorative day of the resurrection, comprise 
its entire emblematic ritual ; but no one of these tem- 
poral and material semblances can have in it any 
thing of truth, significance, or reality, except it be 
imparted by faith, and derived essentially "from 
above." For the sake of men in the flesh, and in 
condescension to the necessities of human nature, 
the seen may be employed as a medium of com- 
munication or of symbolic expression, but whatever 
appertains directly and absolutely to the kingdom 
of heaven, is necessarily unseen and eternal. 

This conception of the kingdom was very far from 
the one entertained by the Jews at the coming of 
Christ. From the " Assumption (avd)jj(ptz) of Moses," 
"Book of Jubilees," "Targums," and a variety of 
other Jewish writings, but especially from plain in- 
timations in the Scriptures themselves, it is evident 
that, in the Messiah, the Jews expected a temporal 

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prince only, and had no thought but of an earthly 
monarch, under whom their nation would be deliv- 
ered from subjection, and restored to its former 
worldly prosperity and glory. This expectation pre- 
vailed even with the disciples themselves, up to the 
time of the resurrection. They had no idea what- 
ever of a suffering Messiah, so that even when Christ 
distinctly announced to them his approaching cruci- 
fixion, Peter "began to rebuke him, saying, Be it 
far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee." 
Matt, xvi: 22. Their expectation led them to in- 
quire: "Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again 
the kingdom to Israel?" and their worldly ambition 
prompted the petition of the sons of Zebedee : "Grant 
unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and 
the other on thy left hand, in thy glory." Mark x: 
37. Especially had the hearts of the Scribes and 
Pharisees become so "gross," and so filled with de- 
sires of worldly honor and advancement, that they 
willfully closed their eyes and their ears against 
instruction, and were consequently addressed by 
Christ in parables, the application of which was with- 
held from them, that they might remain in their 
chosen ignorance, disbelief and impenitence. It was 
in vain, that the miracles, and other evidences of the 
Divine mission of Christ, were placed before them; 
that the teachings of the law and the prophets were 
unfolded and fulfilled, and that their covetousness 
and unrighteousness were faithfully rebuked. With 
scarcely an exception, they had rendered themselves 
wholly inaccessible to spiritual instruction, and ut- 

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terly indifferent to the things of the heavenly king- 

It is, hence, easy to comprehend both the occasion 
and the purport of Christ's language to Nicodemus, 
in relation to this kingdom. He declared to him, that 
no one could see it unless "born from above;" that 
the Spirit alone could impart the life which apper- 
tained to it, and that its subjects must, of necessity, 
remain unknown to all who judged according to 
sense. When, thus judging, the Jewish ruler won- 
dered, and iriquired, " How can a man be born when 
he is old ?" his incredulity as to the possibility of the 
new birth was reproved, by directing his attention to 
the familiar fact that, even the wind, which mani- 
fested its presence by its effects, was, nevertheless, 
as inscrutable to him in respect to its source and its 
destiny, as was the person born of the Spirit. "The 
wind bloweth where it listeth," said the Great Teacher, 
44 and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not 
tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth; so is 
every one that is born of the Spirit." The person 
bor;i of the Spirit might, indeed, be recognized by 
his fruits, as the wind by its effects, but the unregen- 
erate world could not know or comprehend the true 
source whence he emanated or the future unseen 
glory to which he was destined. The comparison 
here is not between the wind and the Spirit, as many 
incorrectly suppose ; but between the wind and the 
person born, of the Spirit. 'The wind/ said Christ, 
' is free in its movements, and these you perceive by 
hearing, but you, Nicodemus, can not tell from 

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whence it proceeds or whither it is tending ; so to 
you, likewise, is every one who is born of the Spirit/ 
Men, judging, like Nicodemus, according to sense, 
could form no conception of the birth from above. 
They could not discover that the believer was born 
of God, or that his destiny was eternal blessedness 
in the spiritual kingdom.* 

The simple general truth here stated is reiterated 
again and again elsewhere. Christ himself made, in 
reference to his own case, a similar declaration to the 
Pharisees, John viii: 14: "Though I bear record of 
myself, yet my record is true : for I know whence I 
came, and whither I go : but ye can not tell whence 
I come, and whither I go." Just as it was with the 
' Pharisees, so was it with Nicodemus. He could not 
tell any thing of the origin or destiny of the per- 
son born from above. These things, however, were 

*The exposition of the scriptural import of regeneration, contained 
in the preceding pages, was presented to the public, by the writer, in 
May, 1830, (Millennial Harbinger, 1st Series, vol. I, p. 206.) Since 
that time, for more than forty years, it has been subjected to criticism 
and discussion by minds of the greatest penetration and scriptural 
knowledge, and has remained perfectly unshaken and impregnable. 
Its obvious and simple truthfulness, also, has impressed a large portion 
of the religious community, known as " Disciples of Christ," who have 
adopted it universally, as the true view of regeneration, since it rests 
exclusively upon express declarations of the word of God, and not 
upon any theological theory of man's invention. It will be seen that 
I quote the language of the common version in which Trvevfia is once 
rendered "wind" but most often "Spirit." Some critics think it 
should be invariably " Spirit," but into this question it is unnecessary 
to enter here, since the change would not materially affect the truth 
declared and with which we are here concerned. 


perfectly understood by those who were born of the 
Spirit. "I know," said Christ, "whence I came, and 
whither I go." Again, says John : " Beloved, now are 
we the sons of God : and it doth not yet appear what 
we shall be ; but we know that when he shall appear, 
we shall be like him ; for we shall see him as he is." 
And again : " We know that we are of God, and the 
whole world lieth in wickedness [under the wicked 
one]. And we know that the Son of God is come, 
and hath given us an understanding, that we may 
know him that is true ; and we are in him that is 
true, even in his son Jesus Christ." 1 John iii : 2 ; 
v: 19, 20. "The world," says he, on the other hand, 
"knoweth us not, because it knew him not." This 
failure to recognize Christ and those who were "born 
of the Spirit," was due to the same cause in all, and 
is clearly stated in Christ's declaration to the Phari- 
sees. "Ye can not tell," said he, "whence I come and 
whither I go. Ye judge after the flesh!' This was pre- 
cisely the error of Nicodemus, who, though a teacher 
of Israel, had failed to penetrate through the Mosaic 
law and ritual to the spiritual lessons which these em- 
bodied. Unlike Jesus, he 'judged after the sight of 
his eyes/ and ' reproved after the hearing of his ears/ 
and was, hence, unable to receive the " things of the 
Spirit," or to form any conceptions of that unseen king- 
dom which was now announced. Christ's teachings 
in regard to it were to him ' hard sayings/ as they were 
to others, on a different occasion, whom he addressed 
in similar language : "Doth this offend you?" said he. 
" What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up 

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where he was before ? It is the Spirit that quicken- 
eth ; the flesh profiteth nothing : the words that I 
speak unto you, they are spirit, and' they are life." 
His words were, indeed, the life-giving words of the 
Spirit himself, revealing the means, Divinely ap- 
pointed, through which alone men could enter the 
spiritual kingdom, become partakers of the bread of 
heaven, and thus attain to eternal life. 

In investigating the method of entering into this 
kingdom of heaven as announced by the Saviour to 
Nicodemus under the figure of a new birth, it is in- 
deed, ever to be kept in view, that there is danger of 
carrying analogies too far. Relations and resem- 
blances may, doubtless, be introduced and applica- 
tions be made of them, which were not intended, and 
are not legitimately involved. The full force of this 
caution is cheerfully admitted, and the need of its 
careful observance fully recognized. It often hap- 
pens, however, that a caution to avoid one extreme 
or error, is little else, in reality, than an encourage- 
ment to run into the opposite one ; or that it is used 
as a quasi justification of the opposite one. Men 
are constantly disposed to run into errors, and it is 
not to be taken for granted that they are a whit 
more likely to go beyond, than they are to fall short 
of the true mark. If a caution, then, is needed not 
to carry analogies too far, it is equally necessary that 
men should be guarded against a failure to carry 
them far enough. It is dangerous to pass beyond the 
true line of interpretation, but is it not equally dan- 
gerous to fall short of it ? The proper question is, 

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what is the exact truth in the case ? And this exact 
truth can be attained in no other way than by re- 
ceiving exactly zvhat the Scripture says. When Christ 
says, " be born of water and Spirit," by what author- 
ity can any one presume to omit " water," or to en- 
deavor so to explain it away that it will signify noth- 
ing, or be synonymous with Spirit, thus putting into 
the mouth of Christ an absurd tautology? When 
Paul connects baptism with regeneration in Titus iii : 
5 ; or when Christ in the Commission connects be- 
lief with baptism, and both of them with salvation, who 
has the right to separate what God has thus joined 
together? It is amazing what sophistries and bold 
assertions have been employed, in subservience to 
certain human theories, to undervalue baptism, to 
deprive it of all the significance which the Script- 
ures attach to it, and sometimes even to expunge it 
altogether from the Christian Institution. The rea- 
son is, that the theory of "Spiritual operations," 
commonly taught, has no use for baptism. This 
theory makes the begetting every thing, and the 
symbolic birth nothing. It seeks to aggrandize one 
part of the analogy at the expense of another part of 
it, destroying altogether the consistency and the 
meaning of the whole. According to this theory, in- 
deed, there is a begetting, not by the word of truth, 
but by the Spirit independently of all means. No 
birth, however, follows in any conceivable sense, 
either symbolic, analogical, literal, or spiritual. The 
whole process of regeneration is condensed into an 
"instantaneous work" on God's part, which, by a 

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special exercise of power, evidently direct and mi- 
raculous, is supposed to impart at the same instant, 
faith, justification, and the assurance of forgiveness. 
In the primitive gospel, the assurance of pardon was 
attached to the "birth of water," baptism ; but in this 
theory, baptism is divested of this office, in order 
that it may be conferred upon that " instantaneous 
spiritual operation," which is supposed to constitute 
regeneration. At the same time, the feelings are 
constituted the standard ; and the Divine testimony 
of the written word to the obedient believer, is sup- 
planted by variable emotions and fanciful experi- 
ences, of which fallible mortals are themselves to 

This modern theory of regeneration, then, evi- 
dently fails to carry out to its proper scriptural con- 
clusion the analogy employed. It altogether dis- 
penses with a part of it, under the plea that this is not 
essential or important. It has no ' birth of water,' no 
"washing" or "bath," in its "regeneration." Its 
regeneration is, therefore, not the regeneration of 
God's word, or of the gospel, which does possess 
both of these characteristics, and the advocates of 
this theory are justly liable to the charge of taking 
aivay from God's word what he has placed in it ; an 
offense certainly quite as flagrant as that of adding 
to it. As to the relative importance of different parts 
of the process of regeneration, that is altogether a 
different question. That, in a certain point of view, 
the begetting — the cordial reception of the gospel, 
the incorruptible seed of the word of God into the 



heart — is first in importance as it is first in order, 
may be readily conceded, since without this, there 
can be no Spiritual results' whatever. But it is not 
the province of man to set aside any part of the pro- 
cess, which God has clearly appointed in order to 
the introduction of his children into the kingdom of 
heaven. In the true view of regeneration which I 
have given, it is to be noted, that the analogy is not 
carried out, in the slightest degree, beyond the Script- 
ure. Not one word is added. The word of God is 
quoted just as it reads. No attempt is made to go 
beyond its obvious meaning — a meaning abundantly 
sustained, not only by the " analogy of faith," but by 
the writings of the early Christian Church, as well 
as by the creeds and by the best commentators of 
modern religious parties.* 

*Dr. Wall, (Episcopal), in his history of infant baptism, in speak- 
ing of the import of the saying, John iii : 5, " Except a man be bom 
of water," etc., says : " There is not one Christian writer of any antiq- 
uity, in any language, but who understands it of baptism^ and if it be 
not so understood, it is difficult to give an account how a person is 
born of water any more than born of woody 4th London Ed., p. 116, 
Vol. I. The "Westminster Confession (Presbyterian,) Chap, xxviii : 
Sect. I, on Baptism, declares that baptism is a "sign and seal of re- 
generation, of remission of sins," etc. The Methodist Creed says, 
" None shall enter into the kingdom of God unless he be regenerate 
and born anew of water and of the Holy Ghost." A connection of 
baptism with regeneration is thus clearly asserted. In the Episcopal 
service of infant baptism, as soon as the ceremony is over, the minis- 
ter says : " Seeing now, dearly beloved, that this child is regenerate 
and grafted into the body of Christ's Church," etc. Here baptism 
and regeneration are made identical. It is unnecessary to quote the 
numerous commentators who agree that baptism is referred to, in 



To be regenerated, then, in the Scripture sense, is 
to be " born of water and of the Spirit," as Christ de- 
clares. God's children are " begotten by the word of 
truth, as James informs us; or "born again" of the 
' incorruptible seed of the word preached in the gos- 
pel/ as Peter tells us; in ' believing/ which, as John 
says, they are "begotten of God," receiving, finally, 
according to Paul, in baptism, that "washing of re- 
generation," by which the process is completed. In 
this view, there is no "baptismal regeneration," as 
some have falsely charged. Baptism is not regenera- 
tion, though it is so termed by Phavorinus, by Justin 
Martyr, and by many of the early Fathers,* and is so 

"Born of water," "Washing of regeneration," etc., as all of any 
authority do this. In calling baptism regeneration*, the Episcopal 
Church is clearly sustained by the practice of the early church. Then, 
however, it was regarded as regeneration only to those who had pre- 
viously been begotten by the word of truth — who had heard the gospel 
and believed. The error of the Episcopal Church is, that, while re- 
taining the language of the early church, it has changed the applica- 
tion of it, and says now of an unconscious babe t what, in the beginning, 
was said only of a believing penitent after baptism. The utter inap- 
plicability of the epithet " regenerate " to an infant merely born of the 
flesh, and without one particle of spiritual life, is, in view of the act- 
ual use of this word in early times, a strong evidence of the falsity and 
absurdity of infant baptism. 

* Augustine, in his " Confessions," thus speaks in relation to his 
mother, Monica, soon after her death: "And although she, having 
been quickened in Christ, even before her release from the flesh, had 
lived to the praise of thy name for her faith and conversation ; yet 
dare I not say that, from the time that thou regeneratedst her by baptism, 
no word issued from her mouth against thy commandment." — Shedd's 
edition, p. 237. Again, in offering prayer for her, he thus speaks : " I 
know that she dealt mercifully, and from her heart ' forgave her debt- 



considered by the Episcopal Church, which is "evan- 
gelical." The true relation of baptism to regeneration 
can only be comprehended in properly carrying out 
the analogy furnished in the Scripture, and recogniz- 
ing this birth of water as the consummation of the 
process — the formally bringing forth into the Church — 
into the kingdom of heaven on earth — that spiritual 
offspring previously "begotten of God." Upon this 
view, and upon no other, can it be readily explained 
how it came to pass that, in the early centuries of 
Christianity, baptism was itself called "regeneration," 
in the use of one of the most common figures of speech 
(synedoche) — a putting a part for the whole. This 
usage, admitted by all to have existed as early as the 
second or third centuries, clearly indicates the impor- 
tant position*///^/* assigned to baptism. Had the mod- 
ern doctrine then existed, that baptism has nothing to 

ors their debts;' do thou also forgive her debts, whatever she may 
have contracted in so many years since the water of salvation." — lb., 
p. 238. He here, evidently, recognized baptism as for the remission 
of past sins, as he does not ask for pardon of these, but of those com- 
mitted since " the water of salvation," as he characterizes baptism; or 
« regeneration,' as he terms it, p. 181 and elsewhere. In speaking, also, 
of his own baptism, he Says : " When the time was come wherein I was 
to give in my name for baptism, we left the country and returned to 
Milan. It pleased Alypius, also, to be with me born again in Thee" etc., 
p. 218. With Augustine, then, to be baptized was to be born again. 
His view of its office is evident by what he says of his continuing in 
his office of teacher of rhetoric for some days after he had devoted 
himself to the service of God. " But hast not Thou, O most merciful 
Lord, pardoned and remitted this sin, also, with my other most horri- 
ble and deadly sins, in the holy waters of baptism?" — Confessions, 
p. 209. 


do with regeneration, and that this is an "instantane- 
ous work " performed by the Spirit, it would have been 
quite impossible that baptism should have ever been 
called " regeneration'* by the early Christians. The 
fact that they did so term it, is a proof that the mod- 
ern doctrine had not then been known or invented, 
and* that, consequently, it is fals£. For whatever mod- 
ification of apostolic doctrine may be admitted as hav- 
ing crept into the Church, or whatever undue impor- 
tance may have been given to particular points, in the 
age immediately succeeding the apostles, it is impos- 
sible to believe that the practice of calling baptism 
"regeneration" could have come into existence at all, 
without having had a basis — a foundation, a germ or 
semblance of truth. As, baptism then was, however 
incorrectly, called " regeneration " in the early church, 
it is a clear evidence that it had, previously, at least 
an important connection with regeneration ; and while 
it was undoubtedly an error to call the mere " wash- 
ing of regeneration," regeneration itself, it might be 
a question whether the ancients were more culpable 
in this than are the moderns in speaking of the "be- 
getting" as the whole of regeneration, and in thus 
endeavoring to exalt this supposed "instantaneous 
work of the Spirit" to a similarly false .position ; even 
making it not only regeneration itself, but the assur- 
ance of justification and pardon, and the actual im- 
partation of the Holy Spirit ! 

In opposition to all these errors, the Scriptures 
teach that baptism is the "washing" or bath "of re- 
generation ;" that it is a being "born of water," and 

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that regeneration is not completed in the mere belief 
or reception of the truth. "As many as received him," 
says John, " to them gave he power [privilege] to be- 
come the Sons of God, even to them that believe on his 
name." Those who believed on him, then, were not yet 
the sons of God merely by virtue of having received 
the truth. After becoming believers, they had the power 
or privilege of becoming sons by being born of water, 
which to them was made by faith a -spiritual act, and 
in which they were to be thus born, " not of blood, 
nor of the will of the flesh, but of God." John i : 12* 

* It is sufficient for the argument here, that John affirms of believers 
that they had the privilege of becoming sons, as it shows they were not 
constituted sons, or regenerated, merely by believing, as the mystical 
theory of regeneration asserts, since it supposes every thing accom- 
plished by an " instantaneous work." By " sons," is here meant those 
born of water and Spirit both, this being necessary, as Christ teaches, 
chap, iii, 5, to an entrance into the kingdom now set up on earth. It 
does not refer to future sonship in the kingdom of glory. John says, 
I John iii : 1 : " Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not 
yet appear what we shall be." It was%e privilege of all believers to 
receive, upon obedience, the adoption of sons, and, because they were 
sons, to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. See Gal. iv : 6, etc. This 
was, and is, the prescribed arrangement of things in order to a regular 
entrance into the kingdom and its privileges. Baptists are, hence, con- 
sistent with the Scriptures, in refusing to unimmersed or unbaptized 
persons a place in the church ; but inconsistent with themselves in refus- 
ing it to those whom they suppose to have been regenerated by an instan- 
taneous spiritual act without baptism. For, if the process of regenera- 
tion has really been completed in their case, and they have truly been 
"born again," they are clearly entitled to all the privileges of the 
kingdom. As to the future salvation of those believers who, from 
mistake and educational prejudices, remain unbaptized and never be- 
come regularly members of the church on earth, though often distin- 

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Many of the Jews who, we are told, believed on Christ, 
would not thus publicly acknowledge him, and, hence, 
did not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Nor is it 
without good reason that baptism, from its nature and 
position, should be made to occupy so important a re- 
lation, for there could not be a more appropriate or 
expressive emblem of the great spiritual change, pro- 
duced by faith in Jesus, than this institution, in which 
the individual, making a public and entire surrender 
of himself in body, soul, and spirit, is buried with 
Christ, and raised again to a new life, receiving 
therein the emblematic washing which represents 
the removal of guilt and the purification of the con- 
science — a translation from " the kingdom of darkness 
into the kingdom of God's dear Son." On this ac- 
count the ancient Christians called it also the " illu- 
mination." It is not at all surprising that a public 
act so expressive and important should come to be 
called "regeneration," and even to be considered by 
some, probably, as the entire process, of which it was 
only the legitimate termination. 

Apart, however, from the extremes both of ancient 
and modern days, and quite independent of the mis- 
takes and errors which have incorporated themselves 
with the teaching of the Church in any age, the sim- 
ple truth remains, as declared by Christ, that " Except 

guished for faith and piety, we need not speak. An entrance into the 
church here, however regular in form, does not secure eternal salva- 
tion; nor have we any reason to suppose that undesigned omissions, ot 
irregularities in religious forms, will impair the title of the sincere be- 
liever to the heavenly inheritance. 

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a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he can not 
enter into the kingdom of heaven." These words re- 
main, and the truths they teach remain. Their mean- 
ing is the same now aS when they were spoken, and is 
not affected by either the undue estimation of baptism 
by early Christians, or its unjust depreciation by the 
moderns. Vain human theories and schemes of re- 
ligion may, for a time, prevail extensively and mislead 
the minds of men, but they must ultimately give place* 
to the "word of truth which liveth and abideth for- 
ever." It is the true wisdom of all to come directly 
to " the law and to the testimony," for " if they walk 
not according to these, it is because there is no light . 
in them." 

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Theories of Faith — False View of Regeneration — Spirit Never given 
Prior to Belief — Power of the Gospel — Superadded Agencies — 
Truth as a Power — As an Instrumentality — Change of Heart — 
Mode in which Truth Acts — Theory of "Spiritual Operations" 

AVING now presented the Scripture account 

JTX °f regeneration, and obtained a clear view of 
the different parts of the process, it will be proper 
to consider more fully that which is the first, and ob- 
viously the most important of these, viz., the begetting 
" through the word of truth." In reference to the 
accomplishment of this, there are, as usual, two op- 
posite theories, one attributing the entire efficiency 
to the Spirit, and the other, to the word. The former, 
as before intimated, makes here little or no account 
of the word or gospel, conceiving it to have no 
power "of itself/' and to be effective only as life or 
energy may be infused into it, in some mysterious 
way by the Spirit. Its advocates urge the doctrine 
of "total depravity," and consequent human inability, 
as explanatory of the fact that, where the gospel is 
preached, a certain number alone receive it. They 
suppose that on these individuals a special illuminat- 
ing or quickening power of the Spirit has been di- 
rectly exerted, by which they have been regenerated, 


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so that they attend to the things spoken, to which 
they had been previously indifferent. Many contend 
that man is so utterly and absolutely depraved, and 
so entirely dead to the things of the Spirit, that 
nothing short of a power capable of raising the dead 
can change his heart, and enable him to receive the 
gospel. These theorists of course suppose the gos- 
pel not to be adapted to man as he is, but to require 
a special and independent force to enable it to reach 
the heart and mind. 

It is, indeed, this "special operation" which they 
conceive to be regeneration itself, confounding, as we 
have seen, the work of the Spirit which relates to 
sinners, with the "gift of the Holy Spirit," promised 
only to believers. From their teaching, it is impos- 
sible to draw any other conclusion than that they 
consider the new birth and the reception of the Holy 
Spirit as simultaneous and equivalent; the former 
being an instantaneous result of the latter, and ac- 
complished only by the direct power of the Spirit 
then and there specially present.* 

* This is, indeed, often plainly and positively asserted by those who 
have been chiefly instrumental in forming the popular notions on this 
subject. Thus, the eminent and excellent Dr. John Owen, in his 
treatise on the Holy Spirit, expressly says : " There is, then, in the re- 
generation of the souls of men, not only a moral, but a physical, im- 
mediate operation of the Spirit on their minds by his power and grace. 
The Spirit of God works internally, immediately, efficiently, in and 
upon the minds of men in their regeneration." {Page 183, Burder's 
Ed.) Prof. Phelps, in his work on the " New Birth," says : " A third 
result from the principles we have received is, that we are at liberty to 
proclaim the offer of the Holy Spirit to the sinner, as being, in unquali- 

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It is apparent, from all their teachings, that they • 
conceive the Spirit to be imparted before faith, and 
for the very purpose of " working faith in the heart." 
Whatever refined distinctions respecting faith theo- 
logians may attempt to make, it is certain that such 
is the prevailing and popular view, so far as it has 
any definite character at all. Hence it is, that in 
reference to "revivals" and conversions, we have 
constantly prayers that God would "pour out his 
Spirit upon the people;" that there might be "a 
Pentecostal season;" that "showers of grace" might 
descend from heaven upon "unconverted sinners;" 
that they might be " baptized in the Holy Spirit and 
fire," etc. In the accounts published of successful 
meetings, also, the conversions are constantly attrib- 
uted to the "shedding forth of the Holy Spirit ;" to 

fied language, the gift of God's mercy." Here Christ's declaration 
that "the world (i. e., sinners) can not receive" the Spirit, is utterly 
disregarded. " Divines " give us the following account of the " prop- 
erties " of regeneration. " 1. It is a passive work, and herein it dif- 
fers from conversion. In regeneration we are passive, and receive 
from God ; in conversion we are active, and turn to him. 2. It is an 
effectual or invincible work of God's grace. Eph. iii : 8. 3. It is an 
instantaneous work, because there can be no medium between life and 
death, and here it differs from sanctification, which is progressive. 4. 
It is a complete work and perfect in its kind ; a change of the whole 
man. 2 Cor v: 17. 5. It is a great and important work both as 
to its author and effects. Eph. xi : 4, 5. 6. It is an internal work, 
not consisting in bare outward forms. Ezek. xxxvi : 26, 27. 7. 
Visible as to its effects. 1 John xiv. 8. Delightful. I Peter i : 8. 9. 
Necessary. John iii : 3. 10. It is a work of grace, the blessings of 
which we can never finally lose. John xiii : I." Cyclopedia of Relig- 
ious Knowledge > Art. " Regeneration." 



" a powerful work of grace;" a "surprising work of 
God," and this work is represented as occasional and 
fitful, like showers of rain. "This shower of Divine 
blessing," says President Edwards, speaking of the 
"great awakening," "has been yet more extensive; 
there was no small degree of it in New Jersey," etc. 
According to this theory, then, the Holy Spirit is 
given to those who do not believe; to the people of 
the " tvorld," in order to produce faith by special 
" power ; " yet Christ plainly and emphatically says 
of the Holy Spirit, and in direct reference, too, to the 
distinction between the disciples and the world, 
" Whom the world can not receive, because it seeth 
him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him ; for 
he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." John 
xiv: 17. Surely a doctrine which comes thus into 
direct conflict with the plain teachings of Christ, de- 
mands reconsideration on the part of its advocates. 
Surely they are not justified in urging it, as they do, 
as though its truth were unquestioned or unquestion- 
able, and in making the acceptance of such a theory 
essential to religious fellowship. 

For this notion is not only expressly confuted by 
our Saviour's words, but by the recorded facts of the 
conversions in the Acts of Apostles. The most or- 
dinary reader of the account given of that " Pente- 
costal season," in Acts ii, for a renewal of which 
prayer is often so earnestly offered, must perceive, 
that the Holy Spirit, on that occasion, was poured 
out 011 the disciples only, and that it was promised by 
Peter to those among the multitude who believed and 

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asked what they should do, only on condition of their 
repentance and submission to the commands of the 
gospel. " Repent," said he, " and be baptized every- 
one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the re- 
mission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the 
Holy Spirit." There is not a single case of conver- 
sion mentioned in the New Testament where the 
Holy Spirit is represented as given to any one des- 
titute of faith, or in order to produce faith, according 
to the requirements of this modern human theory. 

The opposite extreme view or error, held by others, 
(the " word alone theory" to which I recently re- 
ferred,) is, that the first step in regeneration, the " be- 
getting," is accomplished entirely by "the word" it- 
self ; and that this needs no superadded power of any 
sort whatever, in order to enable it to accomplish the 
purpose intended. The advocates of this view affect 
to rely accordingly upon the "word alone" for the 
conversion of sinners ; and, fortifying themselves with 
Locke's Philosophy of Human Nature, deny that man 
can be influenced in any other way than by " mo- 
tives ; " by "words and arguments," presented to his 
mind. They, accordingly, do not believe that any 
Holy Sptrit is imparted even to believers. They en- 
deavor to explain away the Scriptures which affirm 
this, as referring merely to that "holy temper" or 
disposition induced by the reception of the written 
word ; and, in entire harmony with their principles, are 
sometimes found to deny even that prayer has any 
influence, except upon the praying individual him- 
self ; or, that the soul has any separate existence 

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between death and the resurrection ; and to attempt, 
in other respects likewise, to reduce Christianity to 
a mere system of Rationalism or Materialism. These 
views, which are adapted to a certain class of skep- 
tical and philosophical minds, and which constitute, 
in part, what is called Socinianism, though held, in 
various degrees and in modified forms, by individuals 
here and there, have happily made but little prog- 
ress in religious society ; but, so far as they do 
prevail, are found to be fatal to piety, and utterly 
destructive of the power of godliness, however 
clamorous their advocates may be for religious 

There is, however, a view quite different from 
both of these, which, while it recognizes the gospel 
as "the power of God for salvation/' regards it as 
the instrument or means, rather than as the efficient 
cause. Teaching that though a Paul may plant, and 
an Apollos water, it is God who gives the increase; 
it forbears to make a separation between God and 
His word, or to affirm, with the different theorists 
above-mentioned, either that God operates directly 
upon the soul independently of the gospel, or that 
the word has inherent in itself the power, to reach 
and change the heart. It considers both the "word 
alone" and the "Spirit alone" theories as equally 
unscriptural, and deprecates the adoption of any 
theory whatever, as to the particular manner in which 
either the word or the Spirit accomplishes its work. 
Affirming that theories on this subject have nothing 
to do with the preaching of the gospel, it esteems 

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it the duty of the evangelist simply to preach the 
word, and leave the event to God ; without presum- 
ing to adopt, much less urge upon others, any par- 
ticular philosophy or dogma, in regard to Divine 
" influence " and " operations," especially as believing 
in these, or preaching these, has no tendency to 
promote the conversion of sinners, and they formed 
no part of the commission given to the apostles, or 
of the preaching of the primitive evangelists. 

To the individual who is guided by the word of 
God, and who longs to see an end of the unprofit- 
able controversies which have divided religious 
society on this question, it will not be difficult to 
decide which one of the above views of the subject 
should be chosen. That the last mentioned, and 
practical view of this matter, ought to be acceptable 
to all, will appear more fully if it be considered that 

1. It accords with Scripture, in admitting that a 
Divine agency attends the gospel, and that it is 
proper for Christians, therefore, to pray for the con- 
version of sinners in the confident hope that God 
will, in His own good time and way, grant their 
requests. It leaves, accordingly, abundant room for 
the exercise of the prayer of faith, and encourages 
human effort on behalf of perishing sinners, by a 
constant dependence upon Divine assistance. The 
apostles always recognized the Divine power and 
presence with them in all their labors — the success- 
ful issue of which they attributed to God. In setting 
out upon a mission, they were hence "recommended 
to the grace of God," and on their return, "they 

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rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how 
he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles." 
Acts xiv: 27; xv : 4, 7, 14; xvi: 14; xviii : 9, 
10, etc. 

2. It does not, like the first theory, presume to 
dictate and to define, with dogmatic positiveness, 
that a " special operation of the Spirit " is the one 
thing, or the only thing needed in order to render the 
gospel effective. The doctrine of "total hereditary 
depravity," in its popular acceptation, on which this 
theory really rests, requires, as a matter of course, 
this immediate and miraculous exercise of power in 
every case of conversion alike. The supposed de- 
pravity being " total," there are no degrees of it.* 

* There was never, perhaps, a more unfortunate theological phrase 
than this of " Total Hereditary Depravity," nor could there be a 
better illustration of the impropriety of substituting unscriptural ex- 
pressions for the diction of the Holy Spirit. This phrase has been 
prolific of evil results, both as it respects the advocates, and the oppo- 
nents of the doctrine. " There is a way of maintaining the utter 
depravity of our nature," says Dr. Chalmers, "and of doing it in such 
a style of sweeping and of vehement asseveration, as to render it not 
merely obnoxious to the taste, but obnoxious to the understanding. 
On this subject, there is often a roundness, and temerity of announce- 
ment, which any intelligent man, looking at the phenomena of 
human character with his own eyes, can not go along with ; and thus 
it is, that there are injudicious defenders of orthodoxy, who have 
mustered against it not merely a positive dislike, but a positive 
strength of observation and argument. Let the nature of man be a 
ruin, as it certainly is, it is obvious to the most common discernment, 
that it does not offer one unvaried and unalleviated mass of deformity. 
There are certain phases and certain exhibitions of this matter which 
are more lovely than others, certain traits of character, not due to the 



The same remedy is demanded equally for all, and 
the gospei, however it may be presented, is supposed 
to be so ill adapted to man's condition, that it can 

operation of Christianity at all, and yet calling forth our admiration 

and our tenderness The classic page of antiquity 

sparkles with repeated exemplifications of what is bright and beautiful 
in the character of man." These exhibitions of what is pure and 
lovely, however, Dr. Chalmers goes on to say, may be given by an 
individual " who never subordinates one affection to the will of the X 
Almighty, and is as careless and as unconcerned about God, as if the 
native tendencies of his constitution had compounded him into a 
monster of deformity, and who just as effectually realizes this attribute 
of rebellion against his Maker, as the most loathsome and profligate 
of his species," etc. 

" Total Depravity," indeed, according to the definition of some of 
its more moderate advocates, consists essentially in the mere absence 
from the human heart, of love to God, and to our neighbor, rather 
than in any positive quality; while others associate with it necessarily 
an inbred enmity to both. So various and so inconsistent, however, 
are the notions entertained of the nature of this depravity as well as 
of its totality, that nothing fixed or definite seems attainable. By its 
being total, some mean merely that " unrenewed men, universally, 
are entirely destitute of the genuine principle of holy obedience; that 
is, of the love of God and man enjoined in the Divine Law." They 
do not mean that man is as bad as he can be, but that there is want- 
ing in him, by nature, that which alone can be truly recognized as 
good. Generally speaking, Calvinists hold, says Evans in his History 
of Christian Sects, p. 79, that " mankind are totally depraved in con- 
sequence of the fall; and by virtue of Adam's being their public 
head, the guilt of his sin was imputed, and a corrupt nature conveyed 
to all his posterity, from which proceed all actual transgressions." 
The Hopkinsian Calvinists state it thusr: " That though men became 
sinners by Adam, according to a Divine constitution, yet they have, 
and are accountable for, no sins but personal." The creed subscribed 
by the Andover professors, says, on the other hand, that " by nature 
every man is personally depraved, destitute of holiness, unlike and 

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produce no saving effect, and can not even be be- 
lieved, until this " spiritual operation " has been first 
performed. It is true, indeed, that no one has ever 

opposed to God ; and that previously to the renewing agency of the 
Divine Spirit, all his moral actions are adverse to the character and 
glory of God." 

Thus it is, that religious questions are perplexed and complicated 
by human theories and dogmas. Apparently confounding condition 
and quality, the advocates of the doctrine of Total Depravity seem to 
have overlooked the fact that state and character do not necessarily, 
correspond, and that while man's condition since the fall, is one of 
separation from God, his actual character varies with his circum- 
stances, and with his own peculiar individuality. 

The simple facts in the case may, perhaps, be stated thus : Man is 
born into the world in this state of separation from God ; a state rec- 
ognized as one of spiritual death, the condition of Adam after the 
fall. In this state of separation, the child has no knowledge of God 
or of spiritual things whatever — a negative condition which has most 
incorrectly and unfortunately been characterized by theologians as 
" total, hereditary depravity." It is many years after birth, before man 
is so fully developed in his intellectual and moral natures, as to be 
constituted a moral agent. During this period of childhood, the carnal 
nature naturally takes precedence ; the bodily or animal faculties in- 
stinctively exercise themselves upon wordly objects, and a love for the 
pleasures of sense, together with selfish and unholy principles, grad- 
ually become predominant. " The law of sin," Augustine observes, 
" is the violence of custom, whereby the mind is draivn and holden 
even against its will, but deservedly, for that it willingly fell into it." 
The degree to which this actual moral guilt or depravity extends, va- 
ries with the circumstances. In some, the animal passions are, from 
the first, stronger than in others, owing, doubtless, partly to constitu- 
tion or natural organization.* In others, the intellectual nature attains 
early development. Education and nurture, also, can do much to re- 
press the growth of evil principles and habits, and to promote the es- 
tablishment of such as are good. Nevertheless, such is the predomi- 
nance of the carnal nature, that all who attain to moral responsibility 



been able to define precisely the nature of this " op- 
eration," and there are not a few, who, without having 
experienced it at all, are, like the eminent Dr. Francis 

are found to be sinners against God; and, as described in Scripture, 
all are " dead in trespasses and sinsj walking according to the course 
of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the 
spirit who now worketh in the children of disobedience ; " that is, the 
devil, that old serpent, who, as he deceived Eve by his subtlety, con- 
tinues to tempt and deceive mankind by the lusts of the flesh, the lusts 
of the eye, and the pride of life. The degree of guilt and of actual 
depravity, however, as before remarked, will vary in each particular 
case. In some, there may be a complete extinction of all moral feel- 
ing — a searing of the conscience as with a heated iron — an utter sub- 
jugation of the human nature to the power of the evil One; a state 
hopeless and irrecoverable. In others, there may remain various de- 
grees of susceptibility to moral and religious impressions. But all are 
alike in a state of condemnation, " alienated from the life of God," 
"walking more or less after the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires 
of the flesh and of the mind, and by nature, \i. e., in this, their nat- 
ural condition,] the children of wrath. ,, 

From this lost condition, this spiritual death, man can be delivered 
only by the grace of God, who is rich in mercy, and who, for his 
great love wherewith he loved mankind, even when they were dead 
in sins, quickens, or makes alive those who are willing to receive 
the truth. " He that heareth my word," said Jesus, " and be- 
lieveth on Him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come 
into condemnation, but is passed from death to life." It is the " dead 
in sins," who may nevertheless " hear the voice of the Son of God," and 
" they that hear," says Jesus " shall live." Hearing is thus the means 
of life, since " faith cometh by hearing," and it is " by faith the just shall 
live." But until men can be brought to believe that " God is, and 
that he is the re warder of those that diligently seek him," they will, 
and must remain in their naturally lost condition. 

The "Son of Man," who "came to save them that were lost," in 
order to the accomplishment of this work, took part himself of flesh 
and blood, and was tempted in all points as men are, yet without sin. 


Wayland, admitted to have been converted. Still, 
the doctrine continues to be insisted on, and is 
preached to sinners as if it were a most necessary 
part of the gospel proclamation, and an indispensable 
preliminary to true belief; and as though it were 
easier to believe the doctrines of men in regard to this 
theory, than the testimony of God respecting the gos- 
pel. The correct view, on the other hand, while 
admitting man's alienation from God, embodies in it 
no such extreme theory of human inability as makes 
him incapable of believing the gospel upon the Divine 
evidences which sustain it. Recognizing him truly, 
as " dead in sins," and in a state of separation from 
God, it does not conceive him "dead" as respects 
that reason and understanding to which the gospel 

The human nature which he shared in common with us, was not 
alone, but was associated, from the moment of his conception, with a 
Divine nature. In him, this Divine nature ever preponderated, and, 
through all his youthful years, he, by his perfect obedience, grew in 
favor with God and man, being "holy, harmless, and undefiled." 
This, however, could not have been said, if the extreme view of the 
inherent depravity of human nature, generally taught, were true, for, 
in partaking of that nature, Christ would have participated in that " total 
hereditary depravity " asserted as inherent in it, unless the doctrine of 
the " immaculate conception " of Mary could *be supposed to secure 
exemption. This Divine Saviour, moreover, took into his arms little 
children, and blessing them, said, " Of such is the kingdom of 
heaven." Now, if depravity were that hereditary, absolute, and act- 
ual abasement, and personal guiltiness which many advocates of the 
theory assert, it was as great in these children as in adults ; and if so, 
it would have been impossible that Christ should have set them forth 
as models, in any moral point of view, for those who sought to enter 
the kingdom of purity and love. 



addresses itself, and through which it has power to 
reach the moral nature, if not willfully rejected.* It 
regards the power of the gospel as residing in its 
facts— its truths — in the love of God which it reveals — 
in the great and precious promises it presents — in 
the Divine authority which resides in it. An in- 
crease of its power would be hence impossible, unless 
new facts and truths and promises and authority 
could be added, giving a still higher demonstration 
of God's love for men, or right to guide them. But 
as this can not be, the gospel can receive no actual or 
absolute augmentation of power. 

Prof. Phelps, in his treatise on the " New Birth/' 
has the following just observations in the section 
treating of "Truth as a Power." "It is difficult," 
says he, " to mistake the import of the text : * Of his 
own will begat He us with the word of truth.' To 

* Vain is the reference made, by objectors, to I Cor. ii : 14, where 
Paul says " the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit, for 
they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because 
they are spiritually discerned." Paul's " natural man," was the indi- 
vidual, who, like the Greek philosopher, rejected revelation as a 
«ource of knowledge, relying altogether upon natural or sensible 
.means of information and the "wisdom of this world." The " things 
of the Spirit," therefore, presented in the gospel, were to him absurd 
and incredible, and it was impossible for him to know them, because 
they could be learned only through the words of the Spirit given by 
revelation, which he rejected. The spiritual man, on the other hand, 
was the person who received the truths revealed by the Spirit, which 
could be "discerned" or discovered by no natural methods, but 
only spiritually, by the revelation of the Spirit, who knew the "things 
of God," and made them known, not in words taught by human wis- 
dom, but in those chosen by the Spirit himself. 



the same effect is the Psalmist's declaration : ' The 
law of the Lord is perfect,"converting the soul/ The 
entire burden of the 1 19th Psalm is a tribute of ad- 
oration to Truth, as an instrument of Divine pur- 
poses. Why was Paul 'not ashamed of the gospel 
of Christ ? ' Because ' it is the power of God unto 
salvation/" (p. 105.) Upon the instrumentality of 
Truth as a fact in regeneration, he says : " So far as 
we can know, God never dispenses with the agency 
of Truth in renewing the hearts of men. If a ques- 
tion be raised here, it should concern, not the power 
of God, but the facts of his working. So far as any 
essential doctrine of Theology is concerned, it may 
or may not be true that infinite power can regenerate 
a soul by other instrumentalities, or without the in- 
tervention of instrument. For the purposes of a 
practical faith it may, or may not be true that, in 
the nature of things, regeneration is an act which, 
apart from the instrumentality of truth, sustains no 
relation even to omnipotence. Be it so or be it not, 
that to the Divine Mind, truth and regeneration — the 
instrument and the effect — stand in relations of ne- 
cessity immutable and eternal, like the laws of num- 
bers or of diagrams, we need not affirm or deny. 
The theological question, if any exists, is a simple 
question of fact. Does God, in the renewal of a 
human soul, ever dispense with truth as the instru- 
ment of the change ? 

" The answer to this question is not wholly unim- 
portant to cqnsistency of faith. It can be given in 

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"instrumentality of truth. 289 

few words. It is comprised in two positions, which 
a moment's reflection will establish. 

" One is, that if God does, in any instance, dis- 
pense with truth as his moral instrument in the new 
birth, the evidence of this fact must be a subject of 
pure revelation. Experience, from the nature of the 
case, can not prove it. No man can intelligently 
affirm himself to be conscious of a Divine fiat thrilling 
his nature, making a new man of him, with no instru- 
mental agency, or with other instrumentality than 
that of truth. The only evidence any man can have 
from experience, that his heart is changed, is the. 
evidence of actual exercises of heart in view of truth. 
Divine power in the change is, to all consciousness, 
so blended with the force of truth, — in other words, 
the efficient cause so interpenetrates the instru- 
mental cause, — that no mind can intelligently sepa- 
rate them. Indeed, consciousness gives us no hint 
of the Divine Cause, except through the success of 
the instrument. I can not go back of my own con- 
scious exercises in view of truth, and affirm that God 
has changed my heart by sheer will, independently 
of truth. It is plainly impossible ; as absolutely so 
as that my eye should detect the undulations of 
sound or my ear those of light. Regeneration, the 
Divine act, is evidenced to consciousness only by 
conversion, the human change ; and this, again, dis- 
closes itself only in responses of the soul to truth. 
Experience can go no further back than this ; and if 
experience can not, observation can not. If, then, God 
has ever wrought the renewal of a soul in such an- 

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omalous manner as that implied in the inquiry before 
us, the evidence of the fact must be a subject of di- 
rect and supernatural revelation ; we can knozv it 
only from the Scriptures. 

"The second position, then, in answer to this in- 
quiry, is, that the Scriptures are silent as to the 
occurrence of any such instance in the history of 
redemption. They do not explicitly deny, but neither 
do they affirm. They inform us of many instances 
of regeneration by means of truth ; and of not one 
without the truth. They proclaim, indubitably, the 
Jaw of Divine working in this phenomenon of human 
experience ; and they neither, by assertion nor hint, 
point us to a solitary exception. They record none 
in the world's history ; they predict none in its 
future. Here, therefore, argument on this topic may 
legitimately . end. In all our positive reasonings 
upon it we must assume that no such exception exists. 
In our practical uses of the doctrine we must assume 
that none will exist to the end of time. We can not 
logically found any article of our faith on the hypo- 
thetical position that the fact is otherwise." Pp. 
112-1 15. 

Prof. Phelps insists, nevertheless, that power is 
superadded to truth; that truth is "energized by the 
will of God ;" that " over and above all natural ten- 
dencies and finite agencies, God performs an act of 
sovereign power in every change of character from 
sin to holiness." This is the usual theological view, 
upon which we need only remark here that since, 
according to the above reasoning of Prof. P., this 



special act of Divine power, supposed to be exerted 
upon the heart, can not be recognized by conscious- 
ness or by observation, and is not a matter of revela- 
tion, it is, therefore, a mere assumption, a proposition 
confessedly incapable of proof. Why, then, should 
this dogma be insisted on, to the disturbance of 
religious peace and fellowship ? 

In another part of his treatise, Prof. P. speaks thus 
philosophically of the "change of heart :" "This Di- 
vine renewal falls into the same plane with other 
phenomena, in which cause and instrument work 
blended to one end. The greatness of the change 
is not violence of change. Supernaturalness of 
cause is not unnaturalness in effect. Deity in the 
power is not miracle in the result In material na- 
ture are not the most profound phenomena the most 
simple? The mightiest forces in the universe are 
silent forces. Who ever heard the budding of an 
oak ? Who was ever deafened by the falling of the 
dew? Who was ever stunned by a solar eclipse? 
So it is with the august phenomena of a change of 
heart. So far as we know, it is the most radical 
change a human spirit can experience. Still a change 
of heart is not an unnatural change. It is never 
miraculous. It is not necessarily convulsive. It is 
not necessarily destructive of self-possession. God 
employs in it an instrument exquisitely adjusted to 
the mind of man as an intelligent and free being. 
Truth may act in it with an equipoise of forces as 
tranquil as that of gravitation in the orbits of the 
stars." p. 127. If all f his be so, then where, I would 


ask, is the need or utility of the dogma of special 
spiritual operations ? If the Divine influence in re- 
generation is similar to that exerted in the phe- 
nomena of nature, there would be as much propriety 
in supposing a special superadded influence in the 
case of every seed that germinates in the earth, as 
in the case of every one that believes the gospel. 
If we say that the gospel can not be believed without 
added power, we would be equally justified in assert- 
ing that we can not hear or see, in any case whatever, 
without added Divine power. Is the sun's light and 
the human eye so imperfectly adjusted to each other 
that a special operation is needed in order to see any 
object ? And if a special act of Divine power is re- 
quired in every case of regeneration, what is the 
meaning of the above language that " God employs 
in it an instrument exquisitely adjusted to the mind 
of man as an intelligent and free being "? Or of this, 
that " Divine power in the change is, to all conscious- 
ness, so blended with thfe force of truth, that no mind 
can intelligently separate them." It may be equally 
affirmed of every phenomenon of the material uni- 
verse, of which God is admitted to be the efficient 
cause, that his adjustments of means to ends are per- 
fect, and that we can not separate the Divine power 
or presence from the instrumentalities he employs. 
And if the " phenomenon" of regeneration occupies a 
similar position, the doctrine of special superadded 
power in each particular case, would seem wholly to 
disappear from view, and give place to the regular 
action of cause and effect, means and ends, under the 

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general influence of that mysterious omnipresent 
One who sustains the universe, and in whom "we 
live and move and have our being." 

This, indeed, would be quite a modification of the 
popular doctrine, but would, really, almost seem to be 
the view taken by Prof. P., from various statements 
which he makes, as when he avers that "regener- 
ation is never miraculous," and that it is not "an 
unnatural change," etc. That it really occurs in 
perfect harmony with the laws of the human mind 
he, in fact, plainly and interestingly shows, as fol- 
lows, when speaking of the manner in which Truth 
acts: " Assuming," says he, "the fact of the invari- 
able instrumentality of Truth in regeneration as far 
as we know, we are prepared to observe further such 
intimations as the Scriptures give us respecting the 
mode in which Truth operates in the change. ' 

"Here, again, the Bible can scarcely be said to af- 
firm any thing except by implied assumption. One 
vital principle is thus affirmed : It is that of the 
coincidence of the operation of truth with the laws 
of the human mind. Truth is every-where used in 
the Bible precisely as men are wont to use it in per- 
suasive speech. There is a freedom in its use ; there 
is a skill in its use ; there is a mingling of boldness 
and adroitness in its use ; there is a studious care to' 
adjust it to its use ; there is a wise control of it, now 
by utterance, now by reserve, in its use by inspired 
minds ; and there is a confidence, yes, a triumph, in 
their assertions of its power, which appear to assume 
that truth has intrinsic fitness to move a human 

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mind ; and if to move it, to move it aright ; and if to 
move it aright, to move it in genial consistency with 
its own laws. 

" Where do we find in the Scriptures disparage- 
ment of Truth as a power over unregenerated mind ? 
Where is the proof that the Divine choice of it as an 
instrument was arbitrary ? Where is a hint given of 
its being a fictitious or a factitious means to the end 
it is used for? Why should we search for it as for 
hidden treasure, if intrinsically it has no worth, or 
if any other instrument divinely chosen could be as 
worthy ? That is not a salutary faith which de- 
preciates the inherent potency of truth. Divine 
sovereignty gains no honor, and needs none, from 
the reproach of its instrument. Are God and Truth 
rivals in our esteem ? That is not a rational fear, 
then, which shrinks from 'means' of regeneration, 
and especially from ' natural means/ Not so do we 
read the word of God. 

"The usages of scriptural appeal are conclusive in 
their implications on this topic. How do inspired 
men preach ? They reason with men ; they invite 
men ; they instruct men ; they urge men ; they 
entreat men ; they warn men ; they accumulate and 
reiterate all the legitimate arts of persuasion in 
addressing men ; as if men, regenerate or unregen- 
erate, elect or non-elect, were proper subjects of 
persuasion ; as if they were complete men in their 
endowments ; and therefore as if it were the normal 
action of their being to obey the truth. The Bible 
assumes that man every- where, under all conditions 



of probation, has intellect which can receive truth, 
sensibilities which can respond to truth, a will which 
can act in view of truth and act aright. So far as 
the philosophy of the operation of truth is con- 
cerned, we can not see that the Scriptures make any 
distinction between fallen and unfallen mind. We 
can not discover that the methods of speech chosen 
by Isaiah, Paul, John, are not precisely the same in 
addressing men before regeneration as after. What 
is the difference ? Where is the proof of it ? 

" Nothing but the necessities of a philosophical 
theory can extract from the Scriptures the dogma 
that truth is an instrument arbitrarily chosen by 
divine wisdom, or chosen for unknown reasons, or 
chosen for no perceptible fitness to move, and move 
aright, the most guilty and hopeless specimen of 
depraved mind. True, inspiration preserves a wise 
silence, in direct instruction, on the whole subject of 
the philosophy of regeneration ; but its assumptions 
of the correspondence between truth and mind are 
as unqualified as the boldest assertions could be. 
So versatile is its use of truth, so many-sided does 
truth appear in inspired forms, so affluent in its 
resources, so intricate in its evolutions, yet so direct 
in its aim, and so exultant in its consciousness of 
power, that we can not but infer the existence of 
versatile and profound susceptibilities to that power 
in the soul to which it is addressed. So exquisite is 
the mutual adjustment of mind and truth as repre- 
sented in the biblical forms of speech, that the entire 
science of persuasion might be illustrated by those 


forms ; even by such as are addressed to fallen, 
depraved, unregenerafce, non-elect souls. The theory 
of all that the world has felt to be eloquent is real- 
ized in them. 

"From the scriptural uses of truth, therefore, we 
can not but infer that in regeneration its action is 
perfectly normal to the soul. Truth and mind, in 
this divine change, come together not as metals held 
in a vice and riveted; they come as light and the 
optic nerve. Like seeks its like. Truth acts thus 
not by contravention, not even by suspension, of the 
laws of fallen mind. It acts in harmony with those 
laws, in obedience to those laws, by means of those 
laws. They are laws which no fall can dislocate. 
No degree of guilt can suspend them/' 

These eloquent utterances of Prof. Phelps, I have 
given in full, on account of their philosophical just- 
ness, and their bearing on the question under con- 
sideration. From these, we should certainly infer, 
that, as truth and mind 'come together, like light 
and the optic nerve;' and, that as Truth acts 'in 
harmony with the laws of mind/ and in obedience 
to these laws, all that is in any case, needed, is to 
bring mind and Truth into communication, in order 
to the accomplishment of all desired results. Prof. 
Phelps, however, is careful to add: "Truth is then 
God's instrument in effecting a change which it 
never could of itself effect." But where is the neces- 
sity of such a reservation as this ? Is it to make 
room for the popular notion of superadded Divine 
power in regeneration, without which all the adapta- 

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god's power in the gospel. 297 

tions and delicate adjustments of mind and truth are 
supposed to be unavailing? Instrument and agent 
are here considered apart, just as we might consider 
the instrumentalities through which God works in 
Nature, apart from God. So far as any practical 
question is concerned, there can be no necessity for 
such a separation, and no utility in it. Especially is 
it out of place where truth, the instrument in regen- 
eration, is directly addressed, by God himself, to in- 
telligent and moral beings ; and when the power, the 
authority, the wisdom, the veracity, and the revealed 
love of God, constitute, as in the gospel, the very 
truth itself by which the effect is to be produced. The 
gospel is a revelation of God, deriving its power from 
the very fact that it embodies in it the power, wis- 
dom, goodness, and authority of God. From these, 
it is utterly impossible to separate the Gospel, as a 
proclamation of pardon to guilty rebels, on the part 
of the King, eternal, immortal, and invisible. The 
authority from whence it issues, is an essential part of 
the proclamation itself, and that alone which can give 
meaning or significance to its terms. Whatever 
separation may be made in the mind or otherwise, 
as to truths natural, or mathematical, there is cer- 
tainly no place for any separation here, and no room 
for any philosophy which implies superadded power 
to that which is already "the power of God," or 
imagines an "energizing" of that truth, which, could 
it be conceived as in any degree devoid of energy, 
would, that very moment, to the same extent, equally 
cease to be truth. It is well and truly observed by 

Digitized by 


Prof. Phelps, that "inspiration preserves a wise 
silence in direct instruction on the whole subject 
of the philosophy of regeneration," and it is a thou- 
sand pities that theology had not imitated this wise 
reserve. Had it even, in propounding its philosophy, 
claimed for it nothing more than the human au- 
thority on which it rests ; had it set it forth merely 
as an opinion or hypothesis, designed to connect or 
explain certain facts, its introduction and discussion 
would have been less injurious. It is, however, by 
far the worst feature connected with this speculation 
of "special spiritual operations," that it is brought 
forward, not as a mere philosophy, but as a dogma; 
that it is insisted on often as a part of Divine truth 
itself; made prominent on all occasions; dragged 
into all discussions ; injected into the most irrelevant 
treatises, and so urged upon the attention of the 
religious community, as largely to monopolize the 
interest which attaches to the gospel itself, and even 
to induce those who earnestly N advocate it, to arrogate 
to themselves almost an exclusive claim to the title 
of "evangelical." It is a pity that men's minds 
should have been so perverted by this theory, or that 
they should with so much complacency take it for 
granted that it is the only philosophy which can ex- 
plain regeneration. If certain facts connected with 
this subject could be explained upon this theory alone, 
there might be some apology for the persistency with 
which it is urged. These, however, are explicable 
upon principles of a different nature, entirely conso- 
nant with scripture, reason, and experience. 

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The Gospel a Divine Message— A Person and not Doctrines the object 
of Faith — Christianity, a Life — Parable of the Sower — Obstacles 
to the reception of the Gospel — Their Removal — Theories of Con- 
version unnecessary — Full Assurance of Faith — Influences of the 
Spirit, External, Internal. 

THE dispute about regeneration has been con- 
stantly incumbered with ambiguities. Some- 
times the power by which it is effected, is termed 
physical. Sometimes it is represented as moral ; 
while, occasionally, the epithet spiritual is regarded 
as more appropriate. Again, this power itself, how- 
ever designated, is conceived at one time as absolute 
and independent, and> at another, as relative or con- 
ditional. At one moment, "Truth" is represented 
to be indispensable, and to be as admirably fitted to 
act upon the human heart as light upon the optic 
nerve ; at another, this truth can do nothing " of 
itself," but must receive special power from an ex- 
trinsic source. The mere mechanical relation of in- 
strument and agent, is adopted as a complete repre- 
sentation of the connection which exists between the 
gospel and its Author; and the limited applicability 
of figures drawn from material things, is allowed to 


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narrow and to falsify the interpretation of spiritual 

Even learned and eloquent dissertations upon the 
power of truth but serve to create or sustain error, 
when they contemplate the gospel as merely truth, or 
as truth in the abstract. The gospel is not only 
truth, but it is " the truth/* It is not this, however, 
in any abstract or philosophical sense ; nor can philo- 
sophical reasonings about the power of truth, have 
any thing but a limited application here; for the 
" word of truth," that which is termed " the word of 
the truth of the gospel" (Col. i. v.), and which is 
" the power of God to salvation," is not thus charac- 
terized as to its quality, but as to its substance. Its 
power resides not in any supposed influence which 
" truth " may have upon the mind, but in the fact 
that it is itself an authoritative proclamation, a special 
overture, a Divine message to men. It presents no 
symbol of doctrinal " truth " to the intellect ; but re- 
veals facts which address themselves to the heart. It 
sets forth no system of theology for the mental 
delectation of the theorist ; but exhibits to view a 
Divine person, upon whom may rest the trust and 
the affections of the soul. In a word, it is God's 
power, not because it possesses, in common with 
every thing that is, the quality of truth, but because 
it reveals him who is " the way, the truth, and the 
life." Hence the philosophy which would resolve it 
into an abstraction, or install mere verity in the place 
of a living, loving Saviour; or substitute any intel- 
lectual contemplation for a direct, personal, and 

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practical faith in Jesus of Nazareth, clearly fails to 
reach any adequate conception of the subject. 

The gospel, then, is the power of God for salvation, 
but it is such to him only who believes it ; and the 
question before us now, relates to the production of 
this belief. Few who admit the truth of Christianity 
at all, have the hardihood to assert, that the evi- 
dences to the truth of the gospel are insufficient, or 
that a sincere belief of its facts and declarations may 
not spring from its evidences, just as belief in other 
cases arises from adequate testimony. Theology, 
however, attempts to depreciate the quality of this 
belief ; to decry it as merely " historical," and to 
claim, for a true and saving faith, that it can be pro- 
duced only by a. special act of Divine power. All the 
fine things said of the tendency of truth to convert 
the soul, and of the tendencies in the soul to yield to 
truth, amount to nothing. All these tendencies are 
supposed to be overborne, anp 1 it is affirmed, to use 
the language of Prof. Phelps, that " the suasive work- 
ing of truth when not energized by the grace of God, 
is a failure." It is this supposed "energizing of 
truth ;" this efficient superaddition of Divine power 
to the gospel, which forms the very marrow of modern 
popular divinity. It does not, indeed, pretend to ex- 
plain the nature of this added power, or to determine 
whether it is added to the truth itself or to the evi- 
dences of the truth.- It merely excludes from the 
"operation" all human instrumentalities and expe- 
dients, and affirms it to be wholly Divine. But 'what 
this Divine act is, what this power is, the Scriptures/ 



they say, ' do not teach/ and men are therefore left 
to gather their notions of it from observation or ex- 
perience. The Scriptures, however, are as silent in 
respect to the existence of such superadded power as 
they are in regard to its nature ; and the entire 
theory is hence a mere assumption, devoid of any 
Scripture proof. Even regarded in its true light, as 
a human philosophy of conversion, it fails to afford 
any rational explanation of the admitted fact, that a 
part only of those who hear the gospel are saved by 
it ; since it attempts to resolve one difficulty by sup- 
posing a greater one — a special and immediate act 
of Divine power which " energizes " an ineffective 
gospel. A correct view of the subject, on the other 
hand, does not need to invoke the aid of miracles as 
a means of escape from difficulty, while it will be 
found to leave abundant room for influences both 
Divine and human, and to be entirely consistent both 
with Scripture and experience. 

It may be observed, here, in regard to converting 
power, that it is not, any more than gospel truth, to 
be resolved into an abstraction and contemplated 
apart from all that is distinctive, as if all power were 
one. Such conceptions can exist in the mind alone, 
and have no place among realities, or in the word of 
God. It is owing largely to such vain generalizations, 
and the false reasonings based upon them in theology, 
that so much confusion of thought prevails in religious 
society. Nothing can be more evident than that 
power is various. It may be mechanical, chemical, 
logical, vital, etc., and each species of power acts 



within its own appropriate sphere, and according to 
its own nature. Mechanical power may prepare the 
soil for the reception of the seed, but it is vital power 
alone which can enable that seed to germinate. No 
one could stay the rising tide by the power of logic 
or of rhetoric, nor could any one erect a palace by 
the force of chemical affinity. Christianity is essen- 
tially a life. Its processes are vital processes, and 
are hence most appropriately compared with similar 
ones in those kinds of life familiar to men. An in- 
duction into it is thus a regeneration ; or it is an 
engrafting into the good olive, in order to participa- 
tion in its "fatness." Again, the gospel, presented to 
the human heart, is compared to seed, scattered upon 
the ground from the hand of the sower, and, in con- 
sidering its fortunes, it is not the reveries of specula- 
tive theology, but the analogies of nature that must 
be our guide. 

Again, it is to be considered that power of every 
kind is relative, and is to be estimated according to 
the circumstances and conditions under which it acts. 
It may be inefficient, merely because it is insuffi- 
cient ; or because it is not suited to the end, or prop- 
erly applied ; or because its action is hindered by ob- 
stacles, which require some other species of power 
for their removal. Thus, in the parable of the sower, 
four different classes of cases are distinguished, in 
each of which the result varies. Yet in all, the sower 
was the same ; and the power of germination and de- 
velopment on the part of the seed was the same. ♦ The 
seed which fell by the wayside, had just the same 



ability to germinate and grow, as that which fell 
into the good ground. The difference in result, was 
simply owing to the difference of the conditions in 
each case, and is not to be explained upon the absurd 
hypothesis that, in the one, the seed was specially 
"energized," and, in the other, left entirely to itself. 
Now the gospel is just as perfect as the seed to which it 
is here compared ; and, like the latter, neither requires 
nor can receive any positive augmentation of the 
particular kind of power which naturally resides in it. 
The difference in the results which follow its presen- 
tation, are due then, not to any deficiency in itself, 
but to the different states of the hearts in which it is 
"sown." The hearts of men are not here repre- 
sented, by the Great Teacher, as all in one condition 
of "total depravity," as many now teach; but as in 
different conditions ; some utterly unreceptive like 
the hard and beaten pathway; others shallow and 
unretentive like the stony ground, while yet others 
are surcharged with worldly cares which choke the 
word and render it unproductive. On the other 
hand, some are found who receive the word "in an 
honest and good heart," and bring forth abundant 
fruit. Neither is there the slightest intimation here, 
of any superaddition of power to the seed or word, 
with a view of enabling it to overcome the hinder- 
ances in its way. Were the removal of these hinder- 
ances in question, it is evident that not the same, but 
a different " operation " would be needed in each 
case, adapted to the nature of the obstacle to be en- 
countered. Such are the simple dictates of reason, 



no less than the simple teachings of the word of 
God. is not any absolute increase of the power of 
the gospel that is needed, but the removal of the im- 
pediments which prevent its action. And it is impos- 
sible to conceive that any "energizing," — any added 
power infused into the gospel itself — could remove 
these impediments, since, for these, power of a 
nature totally different is demanded. What power, 
for instance, in the analogous case of the seed sown, 
infused into that seed, could enable it to bury itself 
in the soil on the beaten pathway, or deepen the 
stony ground, or eradicate the overmastering thorns ? 
The power that prepares the soil for the seed must 
come from a different source, and be of a different 
nature, from that vegetative power which alone is ap- 
propriate to the seed itself, and all these notions of 
direct power added to the gospel, are as absurd an- 
alogically, as they are false in fact, and utterly de- 
void of scriptural authority. 

As we have said, however, power is relative, and 
is to be estimated according to the conditions under 
which it acts. In the case of the seed sown, no in- 
crease in it of vegetative power could be of any 
avail ; but the removal of the hinderances to the ac- 
tion of the vegetative power which it already pos- 
sessed, would give to this power freedom and effect- 
iveness. The mechanical power, which would break 
up the beaten pathway, remove the stones, and 
eradicate the thorns, would give to the living germ, 
contained in the seed, the opportunity to exert suc- 
cessfully its own peculiar power of growth and de- 




velopment ; and, so far as the result was concerned, 
would be perfectly equivalent to an increase of powei 
in the seed itself, (if such a thing could be con- 
ceived possible,) sufficient to overcome all obstacles. 

We have, again, in 2 Cor. iv : 3, 4, another illus- 
tration of the same truths, where Paul explains the 
reason why the gospel does not, in certain cases, ef- 
fect the salvation of those to whom it is addressed. 
He says : " If our gospel be hid, it is hid to them 
that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath 
blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest 
the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the 
image of God, should shine unto them." * Here the 
light of the gospel is said to be prevented from shin- 
ing into the heart, by certain obstacles, placed in the 
way to intercept it, or "blind the minds of those who 
believe not." It is not at all intimated that the 
gospel is deficient in power, or that any increase of 
its light is needed. Its absolute or actual power was 
entirely adequate to the purpose for which it was de- 
signed ; and insufficient only in relation to the ob- 
stacles placed in the way. These obstacles it could 
neither surmount nor remove; but this inability 
would be unjustly considered as a defect in the gos- 
pel. A person, in a darkened room, would wrong- 
fully complain that the sun was deficient in power, or 

* Thompson renders this passage thus: "If, therefore, even our 
gospel be veiled, it is veiled by those perishing things, with which the 
god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, in order 
that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is an image of 
God, might not shine to them." 



not fully adapted to enlighten the world, because his 
rays were unable to penetrate the closed shutters. 
The light of the sun is perfectly adapted to the eye, 
if it be allowed to reach it, and the eye itself be 
sound. In the case supposed, the remedy is not to 
be found in any increase of the sun's light, but simply 
in the opening of the shutters, in order that the 
light may enter. Paul was sent to " open the blind 
eyes ; to turn men from darkness to light, and from 
the power of Satan unto God;" and the reason he 
gives for any failure is, that Satan prevented the 
light of the gospel from shining into the heart by 
the obstructions he interposed. Satan blinds the 
minds of some by riches. In other cases, his pur- 
pose is accomplished by false philosophy, or false 
religion, or by pride and ambition, or fleshly lusts, . 
or some one or more of the vain and perishing 
things of the present world. These things he erects 
into hinderances or obstacles, which prevent the 
light of the gospel from shining into the heart 
Where these do not exist, no difficulty is experienced. 
The word is heard, believed, and obeyed, as by the 
Corinthians. Acts xviii : 8. The seed which fell 
into " the good ground, brought forth fruit, some an 
hundred-fold, some sixty-fold, some thirty-fold." 

Such is the picture, every-where presented in the 
New Testament, of the conditions under which the 
gospel is preached, and such are the practical illus- 
trations constantly furnished in the "Acts of Apos- 
tles," as well as in common experience. At Anti- 
och, the Gentiles received the gospel, but the Jews, 

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blinded by prejudice, rejected it. At Iconium, the 
apostles " so spake that a great multitude of the Jews, 
and also of the Greeks believed." Acts xiv: i. The 
Jews of Berea were found " more noble than those 
of Thessalonica, in that they received the word with 
all readiness of mind." At Corinth, " they opposed 
themselves and blasphemed." But it is unnecessary 
to multiply proofs to show that, where the gospel 
fails to produce its proper effect, it is due to some 
specific obstacle which Satan in each case inter- 
poses, either to prevent the reception of the truth 
altogether, as in the case illustrated in " the seed by 
the wayside ; " or to render its reception ineffectual, 
as in the case of the stony ground or that of the 
thorns, representing " the care of this world and the 
deceitfulness of riches," which "choke the word " and 
render it " unfruitful." 

As sin has brought upon our race a vast number 
of distinct bodily diseases, each demanding different 
treatment, so, undoubtedly, has it entailed innumer- 
able morbid mental conditions, requiring different 
remedies. It argues but little for the diagnostic 
skill of Doctors of Divinity, that they have been able 
to detect only a single universal malady ; and as little 
for their spiritual therapeutics, that they are able to 
prescribe but one remedy. We know that many do not 
obey the gospel simply because they are ignorant of 
it. Such is the case with many of the heathen, and 
the proper remedy here is instruction. Such was 
the case with the Ethiopian eunuch ; all that he de- 
sired and needed was information ; and although 

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there was a " Spiritual operation " in the case, it was, 
unfortunately for the modern theory, not upon the 
eunuch, but upon Philip^ who was thereby sent to 
meet him in the desert, and was afterward "caught 
away " to Azotus. As for the eunuch, all that seemed 
necessary was that Jesus should be preached to him, 
and, in this preaching of Jesus, baptism was mani- 
festly included, since it was the eunuch himself who 
asked for baptism upon arriving at a " certain water." 
In other cases, it is riches which constitute the ob- 
stacle, as in the case of the ruler, Luke xxiii : 18, who 
inquired what he should do to inherit eternal life, and 
to whom Christ revealed the one thing needed, viz : 
the relinquishment of his possessions. Again, the 
particular hinderance may be pride, ambition, worldly 
honor, earthly pleasure, etc., etc. In each case, the 
means will wisely be adapted to the nature of the 
hinderance which is interposed. Adversity may 
abase the haughty, and prepare the heart for the 
truth. Riches may be made, in the Divine provi- 
dence, to take to themselves wings ; or, upon a bed 
of suffering, the millionaire may learn the vanity of 
earthly things, be led to set his affections on things 
above, and to make to himself friends of the mam- 
mon of unrighteousness. If merely a thoughtless 
want of attention or youthful gayety prevent the re- 
ception of the gospel, a warning word, a kind admoni- 
tion, spoken in season, may give a proper direction 
to the thoughts. In a thousand different ways, indeed, 
may the thousand obstacles which the God of this 
world interposes, be removed, so that the light of the 

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gospel will be enabled to shine into the heart and 
accomplish its beneficent purposes. 

He, without whom not a sparrow falleth to the 
earth, and who has all the resources of heaven and 
earth at his command, can and will, if consistent 
with his purposes, in answer to the prayer of his 
people, throw around the objects of prayer such cir- 
cumstances and influences as will accomplish the end 
in due time. Ministering angelic beings, spirits 
"sent forth," we are expressly told, "to minister to 
those who shall be heirs of salvation," familiar with 
the laws of the spiritual nature, may doubtless guide 
the human mind in almost any direction, simply 
through its own laws of association, suggestion, or 
reasoning ; just as the skilled pilot may guide a ves- 
sel in a particular direction, while another one, with 
the very same wind, is sailing in one directly oppo- 
site. In this, there is no violation, but, on the con- 
trary, an employment of the laws and forces of nature ; 
nor have we any right to suppose that God may not 
cause the hearts of men to be opened to the gospel 
by such a simple guiding of the trains of thought, in 
perfect harmony with the laws of the mind itself. 
Take, for instance, the conversion of Augustine. 
While meditating in his garden near Milan, upon the 
sensuality and impiety of his past life, he was filled 
with remorse, and the tears and prayers of his pious 
mother Monica, heretofore apparently unavailing, 
came into remembrance. In this state of feeling, 
he heard from a neighboring house, a young voice 
saying and repeating, " Tolle lege, Tolle lege," take 

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and read y take and read. Receiving this as a Divine 
admonition, he returned to the place where he had 
left his friend Alypius to procure the roll of St. Paul's 
epistles, which he had a short time before left with 
him. " I seized the roll," says he ; " I opened it and 
read in silence that passage on which my eyes first 
alighted." It was the thirteenth of Romans : " Let 
us walk honestly, as in the day ; not in rioting and 
drunkenness ; not in chambering and wantonness ; 
not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord 
Jesus Christ and make not provision for the flesh to 
fulfill the lusts thereof." " No further would I read," 
adds he, " nor needed I ; for instantly, at the end of 
this sentence, by a light, as it were, of serenity, in- 
fused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt van- 
ished away." — Confessions, p. 204. Need we wonder 
at the effect of the word of God here, falling into a 
heart prepared for its reception through the lifelong 
instruction of a pious mother ; the recent earnest 
discourse of Pontitianus to which he had listened, 
and the late removal of the obstacle of Manicheeism 
through the teachings of Ambrose ? The ardent 
nature, and proud and subtle intellect of Augustine 
needed just such preparation ; and no sooner were 
the hinderances of false religion and philosophy taken 
out of the way, than the truth and beauty of the 
gospel shone into his heart. Let it be here observed 
that all the influences here mentioned as acting on 
Augustine were from without, and through words 
presented to his mind ; and, furthermore, that the 
final happy change was effected by the zvord of God 

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itself. Again, if worldly hopes and ambitions occupy 
the thoughts, and prove an obstacle to the entire 
surrender of the heart to God, we may take the case 
of a Luther, moved to deep reflection by the fate of 
his friend Alexis, and filled with the terrors of death 
by the flashing lightnings of a furious storm. He is 
thus led to renounce all worldly prospects and seek 
for peace in the cell of a cloister. But he finds it 
there, after many struggles, only in the simple assur- 
ance which the Bible affords of justification through 
faith in Christ. It is the prospect of death indeed, 
which, perhaps more than any other single cause, 
leads men to become religious. So Peter Waldo, a 
rich merchant of Lyons, startled by the sudden death 
of a friend at his table, resolves to abandon all other 
concerns and devote himself to religion. He distrib- 
utes his wealth to the poor, circulates the Scriptures, 
and becomes the founder of the Society of the Wal- 
denses. Again, it may be simply a want of careful 
and continued attention to the claims of the gospel, 
as in the case of the gay and witty Wilberforce, who, 
while on his way to Nice, happened to observe to his 
friend Milner that he thought a certain religious 
clergyman carried things too far. Milner said that 
he thought he would form a different estimate of 
him, were he to carefully peruse the New Testa- 
ment. Wilberforce replied that he would take him 
at his word, and read it through with pleasure. Thus 
perusing the New Testament together on their jour- 
ney, the mind of Mr. Wilberforce became impressed 
with its truths. He was revolutionized, became a 

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new man, and thenceforth devoted himself to the 
cause of religion and philanthropy. 

No one, indeed, can read intelligently the accounts 
we have of the conversions and religious strugglings 
of those distinguished for piety, without perceiving 
that, however various attending circumstances, and 
however protracted the struggle, assurance and peace 
were at last found only from the study of the Divine 
Oracles, or in some Divine Scripture truth impressed 
at a favorable moment on the heart. It is easy to 
perceive how various the obstacles as well as the 
means to be employed for their removal, and how 
truly the Gospel is the power of God to salvation, 
when the particular hinderance to its reception is 
taken away. The history of these experiences forms 
one of the most interesting portions of the memoirs 
of the great and good ; and their mental trials and 
struggles to reach the light of truth, will be regarded 
with earnest sympathy and affectionate interest by' 
every Christian. These experiences are true psyco- 
logical phenomena. They are doubtless often special 
answers to prayer. They are Divine guidings ; par- 
ticular interpositions, opening the eyes to see won- 
drous things in the law of God — things which were 
there before, but unseen in consequence of ob- 
structed vision. But the prevailing error of religious 
society in regard to them is this : to regard them as 
direct operations of the Holy Spirit upon the heart 
of the unbeliever, "energizing" the gospel and im- 
parting faith by "an instantaneous work;" and to 
attribute to these influences a saving or converting 

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efficacy, independent of the word of God, and the 
institutions of the Gospel. 

For such an extreme view there is not the slightest 
necessity, since the facts involved admit of explana- 
tion upon principles which, while they detract not 
from the gospel as God's power to salvation, leave to 
the influences in question all that may be justly 
claimed for them, as designed, in God's providential 
and special ministry, to bring men to a knowledge 
of the truth, and as being a part of that wondrous 
system of instrumentalities, by which the Supreme 
Ruler directs and governs the affairs both of individ- 
uals and of nations, as strikingly shown in the book 
of Esther, and constantly exemplified in human his- 
tory. Nor is there any need of the theory which 
accounts for conversion by a special "energizing" of 
truth; since it is apparent that the removal of 
.obstacles to belief is equivalent, practically, to an 
augmentation of the intrinsic power of the gospel. 
The opening of the shutters of a darkened room will 
have precisely the same effect as if the light of the sun 
was increased sufficiently to penetrate the shutters. 
The force with which a sword is urged to pierce the 
heart may be unavailing, if a breastplate be inter- 
posed, but altogether adequate if that breastplate be 
removed. If, in the balance of the judgment, or of 
the affections, some worldly hope outweighs the 
promises of the gospel, the preponderance of the 
latter may be effected, not by adding to it new 
weight, but, more readily and simply, by the removal 
of that in the opposite scale. 



There is, however, as formerly said, no occasion 
for any theories whatever on this subject. The true 
preacher of the gospel will, like the apostles, give 
himself to " prayer and to the ministry of the word," 
and endeavor to combine trust in Divine aid with 
diligence in human effort. In fulfilling his mission 
he will find, as in the parable of the Sower, good and 
honest hearts prepared to receive the truth as did 
the Bereans of old. If others oppose, God may, 
peradventure, give them repentance to the acknowl- 
edging of the truth in due time, through the means 
fitted to remove the difficulties in their way. From 
the lost, the gospel will doubtless be forever hidden 
by the devices of the Prince of Darkness. In all 
cases, however, results are to be left with God ; and 
men are to perform their prescribed duty independ- 
ently of theories, being assured that the " kingdom 
of God is as if a man should cast seed into the 
ground, and should sleep and rise night and day, and 
the seed should spring and grow up he knoweth not 
how." Mark iv: 26, 27. 

When hinderances to faith are removed, when an 
individual is enabled to see the glory of Christ as he 
is revealed in the gospel, and to make an entire sur- 
render of himself to him in loving trust, it is natural 
that the soul, freed from its burdens and its fears, 
should find rest and be filled with joy and peace. 
This was Christ's promise to the weary and heavy- 
laden, who would come to him and accept his guid- 
ance. It is evident that the degree of happiness 
experienced by the convert, will vary with the degree 

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of confidence he entertains that he has obtained a 
personal interest in Christ, and has been justified or 
forgiven. The fact of his justification itself, rests, of 
course, in the Divine mind alone ; but in the gospel, 
God has furnished such assurances of the fact to the 
believer as to relieve him of all dubiety. It was not 
the design that any one should be left in doubt as to 
his salvation, nor can there be found under apostolic 
preaching, a single instance of that uncertainty in 
regard to this, which is now so common under the 
influence of modern systems of religion, where the 
hope of acceptance is made to rest upon certain 
feelings of joy and peace, themselves often due to 
factitious circumstances, or being constituted, by an 
absurd inversion, the very ground of the hope from 
which they spring. The assurance of justification 
can not properly spring from our own hopes or con- 
victions, but must proceed from a higher source, and 
rest upon a Divine authority. It is unfortunate, there- 
fore, that modern religious systems, in making the 
feelings alone the criteria of pardon, have presumed 
to neglect or reject the means which God himself 
has appointed in order to give this assurance. An 
inspired apostle, in the beginning, commanded be- 
lieving penitents to "be baptized for the remission 
of sins," with the promise of the gift of the Holy 
Spirit upon their obedience (Acts ii: 38); and it is 
evident that in this obedience and in the realization 
of this promise, the believer received those Divine 
assurances of his acceptance which were alone legiti- 
mate. Paul hence indicates the primitive order of 

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things, when he says (Heb. x: 22), "Let us draw 
near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, hav- 
ing our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and 
our bodies washed with pure water the application 
by faith, of the "blood of sprinkling " to the con- 
science, being here appropriately connected with 
the washing of the body in baptism,* which is not 
a Jewish rite of mere external purification, but the 
"answer of a good conscience " — an expressive em- 
blem and pledge, on God's part, to the believer, of 
spiritual cleansing through the atonement of Christ. 
That the gospel reveals a justification by faith "with- 
out deeds of law," is a doctrine most true and worthy 
of all acceptation. Modern system-makers seek to 
carry the matter still farther, and to make justifica- 
tion independent likewise of the institutions of the 
gospel itself. Without entering here into this ques- 
tion, it is sufficient to say, that justification is one 

*The opposition which Paul here institutes between the " sprink- 
ling " of the heart and the "washing" of the body, is noteworthy, as 
a clear evidence that immersion alone is Christian "baptism." For it 
may be justly affirmed that no one thing, nor even a surface, can be 
washed without being covered or immersed in that by which it is 
washed. The mere sprinkling of the earth never washes it. The 
ground is never washed, unless the water accumulates so as to caver 
the surface washed. A vessel is said to be " washed," i. e., plated, 
with silver, only when its surface is covered by a film (however thin) 
of this metal. In every case, a covering or immersion of the thing 
washed is a necessary implication; and the washing of the body in 
pure water of which Paul here speaks, is an irrefragable proof that 
immersion, in which alone this "washing" could be effected, was the 
"baptism" of the apostolic age. 


thing, and the assurance of justification, or the " full 
assurance of faith," another; and that, while obe- 
dience to the gospel can in no sense procure forgive- 
ness, it may be essential to the believer himself as 
the divinely appointed means of furnishing to him 
this assurance. 

It is in setting aside baptism for remission of sins, 
and in confounding the gift of the Spirit to believers 
with the work of the Spirit in conversion, that mod- 
ern systems have deprived the sincere convert of 
that comfort and confidence in his profession, which 
was given by the primitive gospel. An overweening 
anxiety to secure for the unbeliever the inner "wit- 
ness of the Spirit," and a habitual depreciation both 
of the word of God and of the institutions of the 
gospel, upon the ground that these are merely out- 
ward or external matters, have tended to create the 
impression that no influences of the Spirit are of any 
value except those which are exerted from within. It 
would seem, indeed, to be supposed that the Holy 
Spirit is unable to exercise any influence upon men's 
hearts and minds by acting upon them from without ; 
and that, in all cases, in order to move them, he must 
take up his abode in their hearts. In referring to 
John xiv: 17, Calvin says: "The words of Christ 
show us that we can receive no knowledge of the 
Holy Spirit through merely human perception, but 
that he can be known only by the experience of 
faith — ' The world} he says, ' has no capacity to receive 
the Spirit because it knoweth Him not, but ye knozv 
Him, for he dwelleth with you! The Spirit, then, 

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suffers himself to be known only by taking up his 
abode in us ; otherwise he is unknown and incompre- 
hensible." The teaching of Calvin here is in direct 
opposition to that of Christ, and to the facts of Script- 
ure. Christ says to the disciples with respect to the 
Spirit, "Ye know him, for he dwelleth with you and 
shall be in you." He was not, then, yet in them, this 
being a matter in the future. Nevertheless, they 
knew him, as Christ declares. But Calvin contra- 
dicts and says: "The Spirit suffers himself to be 
known only by taking up his abode in us. Other- 
wise he is unknown and incomprehensible." In like 
manner, the followers of Calvin seem to recognize 
no work of the Spirit in human renovation, except 
it proceed from the Spirit as dwelling in the heart. 
But the declaration of Christ in the case referred to, 
clearly implies an influence from without. "Ye 
know Him," says he to his disciples, "for he is with 
you." The Spirit, then, had made himself known to 
them simply by being with them, but not in them. 
The failure to make this distinction has much to do 
with the confusion of thought which prevails on the 
subject of spiritual influence. 

How had the Holy Spirit been with the disciples? 
Certainly as dwelling and manifested in the person 
of Christ. To him the Holy Spirit had been given 
" without measure." In him dwelt " all the fullness 
of the Godhead bodily." He cast out demons and 
wrought all miracles by the. " finger," or Spirit of 
God. The Father dwelt in him, and he dwelt in the 
Father by the Spirit. " The words that I speak unto 

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you," said he to Philip, John xiv : 10, " I speak not 
of myself, but the Father that dwelleth in me ; he 
doeth the works." The disciples had heard these 
"words;" they had witnessed these "works," by 
which it had been proved to their hearts and minds 
that Jesus was the Messiah. " The same works that 
I do," said Jesus, "bear witness of me that the Father 
hath sent me." John v: 36. The Holy Spirit had 
thus exerted an influence of the most important and 
salutary nature upon these disciples, while merely 
with them, but not in them. This influence was ex- 
erted from without, by words addressed to their ears, 
and by miraculous evidences of an external character 
presented to their senses. What was the result of it ? 
They had become believers. " I have given unto them 
the words which thou gavest me," said Jesus in his 
prayer to the Father, " and they have received them 
and have known surely that I came out from thee, 
and they have believed that thou didst send me." 
They had become possessed of faith by hearing words, 
and witnessing the proof on which faith rests. No 
one can pretend it was by a special internal opera- 
tion of the Spirit " working faith in the heart," ac- 
cording to the modern notion, for the Spirit was 
not yet in them, but only with them. Christ had 
indeed conferred upon them power to work miracles, 
but this, as has been shown, had nothing to do with 
the indwelling of the Spirit, any more than in the 
case of the rod of Moses ; the waters of Jordan in 
healing Naaman, or the bones of Elisha in raising 
the dead to life. The entire result, in the case of 

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the disciples, is expressly attributed to the 'words 
spoken to thenty confirmed, as they were, by the exter- 
nal evidences of miraculous power. We have here, 
then, an influence of the Spirit, exerted from without* 
producing saving faith, constituting individuals dis- 
ciples of Christ, and separating them from the world, 
Here is a state of facts, clearly revealed, which can 
never be explained or accounted for on the princi- 
ples of those who admit but internal influences of 
the Spirit and deny the possibility of true faith 
without a "special internal spiritual operation." 

But the result of this external influence of the 
Spirit — of these " words " of the Spirit, spoken by 
Christ in the ears of the disciples, was not only faith, 
but also purification. "Ye are clean," said he, 
" through the words which I have spoken unto you." 
Well could he, therefore, say to them on one occa- 
sion, " Blessed are your eyes, for they see ; and your 
ears, for they hear." It was "given" to them to 
know the truth because they did not, like the Phar- 
isees, close their eyes to the light, and harden their 
hearts against the teaching of Christ. Hence said 
Jesus to the Father, " I have given them thy words 
and they have received them." They were accord- 
ingly prepared to receive the Holy Spirit, their 
hearts "having been purified by faith" in Jesus. 

We have now, in the case of these disciples, a 
perfect exemplification of the actual state of the case 
in reference to all who have since been brought to 
Christ. All have heard the gospel, the same gospel 
which Jesus preached, and have had presented to 

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their- minds the same external .evidences of his 
Messiahship, furnished by the Holy Spirit, by which 
the primitive disciples were convinced, and which 
are faithfully recorded or " written," that all in suc- 
cessive ages might believe the same great truth, and 
believing this, obtain life through the name of Christ. 
In all these cases, the Holy Spirit was with them 
but not in them. He has been with them in his 
words presented to them ; with them in those who 
spoke to them the word of God ; with them in every 
sense in which he was with the primitive believers ; 
and, as in their case, by operating from without, by 
words, by the gospel of Christ which is God's power 
to salvation, brought them all to a knowledge of the 
truth, and purified their hearts by faith, so that they 
were prepared to receive, upon obedience, the gift 
of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, as an indwelling 
presence to abide with them forever. 

The work of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of 
men hence naturally divides itself into two chapters — 
I. The influence He exerts from without in the pro- 
duction of faith and conversion ; and, 2. The influ- 
ence he exerts from within, as the Comforter, Helper 
and Sanctifier of the obedient believer. The advo- 
cates of the popular theory of " spiritual operations/' 
fail to make this distinction. They seem, as for- 
merly remarked, to have little idea of any spiritual 
influence but as exerted in conversion, and that, too, 
from within, by an actual presence of the Spirit in 
the unbeliever, contrary to the word of God. It is a 
pity that the peace of religious society should be 

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disturbed, and the progress of the gospel hindered 
by a theory of " spiritual operations " which leads men 
to disparage the word of God as inefficient, so that 
the very revelation which the Spirit makes of sin, 
righteousness and judgment for the purpose of con- 
verting the world, is disregarded, in the pursuit of 
direct internal influences which, so far as they are 
genuine, appertain exclusively to believers. The 
work of the Spirit, as this relates to the world, be- 
ing thus confounded with his work as it relates to 
saints, the anxious inquirer is unable to obtain a 
clear idea of either, or to ascertain what is really 
required of him. It is lamentable that a human 
theory should be allowed to place the Spirit in op- 
position to his own work ; to exalt one part of his 
work against another ; misplace the promises and 
Divine order of the gospel, and so pervert the minds 
of men, that they will not receive the plain teach- 
ing of the Spirit himself in the Sacred Scriptures. 
Why should the influence of the Spirit, exerted from 
without, through the gospel, not be as highly esteemed 
and as earnestly pressed as his influence from within ? 
Why should the difference in the relations which 
the sinner and the saint respectively sustain to 
God, be wholly overlooked or disregarded ? Why 
should the attempt be made to apply to the one 
those means of renovation which have been Divinely 
appropriated to the other? Alas! it is nothing but 
the tyranny of a theological theory which requires 
this, for it has been diligently inculcated, as the very 
basis of all religion, that such is the nature and con- 

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dition of man that nothing but a direct internal 
. operation of the Spirit can enable any one to believe. 
Theory first establishes a mountain of "fotal hered- 
itary depravity " directly in the way of the gospel, 
and then demands, as a matter of necessity, a miracle 
for its removal ! In opposition to all this, however, 
the Scriptures teach that men are to "hear the 
word of the gospel and believe ;" that they are " regen- 
erated by the incorruptible seed of the word;" that 
God begets his children "by the word of truth," and 
that while it is impossible for the unbelieving world 
to receive the Spirit, "because it seeth him not, 
neither knoweth him," God will ever, according to 
his gracious promise, give the Holy Spirit "to them 
that obey him." To reveal Christ to the mind and 
heart, through the gospel, is thus the office of the 
Spirit, as it respects the world ; while, dwelling in 
the heart of the believer, he there establishes the 
reign of peace, and joy, and love, bringing forth in 
the life the blessed fruits of righteousness, and pre- 
v paring the renewed soul for the blissful enjoyment 
of the eternal inheritance. 

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